History sheeter and five-time MLA Atiq Ahmed, 62, and his brother Ashraf were shot dead by three assailants in Prayagraj on the night of April 15 while being escorted by about a dozen policemen for a medical checkup. Atiq Ahmed, who was also a former Samajwadi Party MP, was killed hours after the last rites of his son Asad Ahmed, who had been gunned down in a police encounter in Jhansi two days before Atiq’s assassination.

Prayagraj police commissioner Ramit Sharma said that the assailants had come on motorcycles posing as media persons. They were able to get near the duo on the pretext of taking a news byte, and shot them from close range. Mr. Ahmed and his brother sustained bullet injuries to the head and were declared dead by doctors later in the night. The UP police detained three alleged assailants on the spot and seized three firearms.

One of the alleged attackers apparently shouted the slogan ‘Jai Sri Ram’, as he was being apprehended by the police.

However, soon after video footage of the double murder started circulating on social media, several users tweeted that slogans of Jai Sri Ram were not raised and that the videos were doctored. Right Wing influencer Arun Pudur wrote, “Kasab wore a Hindu thread during the Mumbai attack so Hindus could be blamed Rumours spread by ISI IT Cell that #AtiqAhmed killers shouted Jai Sri Ram, this is same Modus operandi”. (Archive)

Social Media co-convenor for the Bharatiya Janata Party, UP, Shashi Kumar, claimed that the video of Atiq’s shoot out with Jai Sri Ram slogans was “fake and dubbed”. (Archive)

Twitter handle News Arena India tweeted the same claim. They said no slogans were raised and the video circulating on social media was ‘fake’. (Archive)

Verified user @SaffronSunanda refuted the Jai Sri Ram sloganeering claim in a tweet and wrote, “Many people are circulating fake videos claiming that the three accused in the Atiq Ahmed murder case are chanting Jai Shri Ram. No slogans were raised….”. (Archive)

Fact Check

Atique Ahmed and his brother were killed during a media interaction on their way to a medical check-up inside the premises of MLN Medical College premises. As a result, the shooting was caught on camera as media persons were following the two being escorted to the hospital by police around 10 pm. Three people identified as Arun Maurya, Lavlesh Tiwari and Sunny Singh, who posed as journalists, were detained but no official statement on their names was issued.

News 18 was one of the media houses present at the scene at the time of the shooting. In a footage uploaded by News 18 Uttar Pradesh, Atiq Ahmed and his brother in handcuffs can be seen disembarking from the police vehicle and addressing the media persons. Upon being asked why Atiq didn’t attend his son’s funeral, he replies “Nahi le gaye toh nahi gaye”. Ashraf then starts saying something about Guddu Muslim when a pistol is seen being fired at Atiq. Atiq falls down first and the cameraperson runs inside the hospital while several rounds of firing can be heard outside. Slogans of Jai Sri Ram can be heard clearly as the firing stops. The police officials are seen tackling the assailants as they continue the sloganeering. The two brothers lie in a pool of blood on one side.

In a video uploaded later, however, News 18 India stated that the assailants chanted slogans of Jai Sri Ram before surrendering to the police. The video shows two of the shooters being pinned to the floor and later dragged away by the police as they raise their hands while chanting “Jai Sri Ram”. The video on YouTube is titled “अतीक़ के हमलावर ने सरेंडर से पहले कहा ‘जय श्री राम” (Translation: Atiq’s attacker said ‘Jai Shri Ram’ before surrender).

Times Now tweeted footage of the incident shot from a different angle. Here too, the assailants can be heard chanting slogans of Jai Sri Ram while shooting at the duo already on the ground. They immediately surrender to the police after that. Times Now later released a report titled, “Atiq Ahmed’s Attackers Posed As Journalists, Shouted Jai Shri Ram Slogans: Killers Identity Revealed“. The assailants reportedly told police during the interrogation that they killed the former MP and his brother to become famous by eliminating the gang of Atiq and Ashraf.

Apart from different footage of the incident where the sloganeering can be heard clearly, several news reports also mentioned the slogan being raised. Hindustan Times profiled the three assailants in a report titled “Atiq Ahmad’s killers shouted ‘Jai Shri Ram’; identified: What we know”. One of the assailants, Lavlesh Tiwari, is a Bajrang Dal leader, according to his Facebook profile. He says he is Zila Sah Pramukh of Bajrang Dal.

In a video report too, Hindustan Times stated that slogans of Jay Shree Ram had been raised.

This detail was also reported by Zee News in their report titled, “Soon after Atiq Ahmed’s Killing, Jai Shri Ram Slogans Raised On Camera“. According to IANS report, one of the journalists who was present on the spot said, “The assailants shouted ‘surrender, surrender’ and threw their firearms on the ground”.

Apart from news reports, there are several eyewitness accounts which corroborate that slogans of Jai Sri Ram had indeed been raised after the firing. In an interview with News Tak, an eyewitness said, “(they) had ID cards of Press…. they fired 7 rounds. After Ashraf and Atiq fell to the floor, the police ran away. (The assailants) were chanting “Jai Sri Ram” while shooting…”.

Press Trust of India journalist Pankaj Srivastav, who was on the spot and narrowly escaped being hit by a bullet, confirmed to Alt News that Jai Sri Ram slogans were raised by the assailants.

We reached out to the Superintendent of Police, Prayagraj, for a comment. This report will be updated if and when we get a response.

Thus, there is enough video evidence, multiple news reports from the ground, and eye-witness accounts that show Jai Sri Ram slogans were raised by the assailants after they shot Atiq and Ashraf Ahmed. Contary claims, are, therefore, false.

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About the Author

Student of Economics at Presidency University. Interested in misinformation.