Asad, the son of slain gangster Atiq Ahmed, and Ghulam, one of Asad’s associates, were killed in encounter with UP Police on Thursday, April 13, 2023, in Jhansi. The two were wanted in connection with the February 24 murder of Umesh Pal. Atiq Ahmed, a history-sheeter with more than 100 complaints against him, and his brother Ashraf Ahmed were shot dead on live TV on Saturday, April 15, 2023.

Against this backdrop, several social media users have shared a photograph of Samajwadi Party leader and former Uttar Pradesh chief minister Akhilesh Yadav amid a crowd of people and claimed that two persons at the far right of the photograph are the murderers of Atiq Ahmed. Thus, they suggested that Atiq and Ashraf’s murders were supporters of Akhilesh Yadav and that Akhilesh was to be blamed for the murders.

Twitter handle @socialninzaa shared the image with a caption that said ”Breaking news the both the killers have been identified, they both belongs from Samajwadi party. As per reports #AtiqueAhmed and his brother know many black things about samajwadi party. Akhilesh yadav with help of his party people killed him. Now we know who is real killer.” (sic) (Archive)

The tweet has over 9 lakh views and this conspiracy theory has gone viral.

A digital media organization called Indus Scrolls published a full-fledged report on this incident with the headline saying the photo was crucial evidence of Akhilesh Yadav’s role in the murder.

Several other Twitter and Facebook users shared the image with a similar caption.

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Fact Check

By reverse-searching the image on Google, Alt News came across a Tweet from Akhilesh Yadav. He shared some pictures of his visit to Madhya Pradesh on April 13, 2023. The viral picture is among those.

By taking a cue from this, we performed a keyword search and found out more about his visit. We came across reports from Dainik Bhaskar and ABP News, that had significant details. The headline of the Bhaskar report said, ”While going to Khargone, Akhilesh Yadav said — We have a long relationship with Subhash Yadav’s family”. The reports said that Akhilesh was in MP to pay tributes to the Late Subhash Yadav, the former deputy chief minister of Madhya Pradesh.

We noticed that several senior Congress leaders attended the event. Alt News reached out to Indian Youth Congress president of Madhya Pradesh Dr. Vikrant Bhuria, in order to help us identify the individual marked in the viral picture. He said, ”He is Rajkumar Yadav, district president of Sehore Youth Congress. He has nothing to do with the case.”

Alt News then contacted Rajkumar Yadav himself for further clarification. While speaking with us, he sent us various pictures of him at Khargone from the same day. He said there was a statue and a college in the name of the late Subash Yadav in Khargone and the event was organized to pay tributes to his work.

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In the side-by-side comparison below, readers can see that they are the same person.

Further, while comparing the photograph of the Atiq Ahmed murder-accused taken by the Prayagraj Police (taken from the Indian Express report of April 17, 2023) with that of Rajkumar Yadav, we noticed that Rajkumar did not remotely resemble any of the three.

To sum up, the claims circulating on social media that the murder-accused of Atiq and Ashraf Ahmed can be seen in a photo with Samajwadi Party leader Akhilesh Yadav are false. The individual marked in the viral photograph is Rajkumar Yadav, the district youth Congress president of Sehore in Madhya Pradesh.

Vansh Shah is an intern at Alt News.

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