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Apr 16, 2023

Who Shot the Ahmed Brothers in Full Public View? Here’s What We Know So Far

All three appear to have some sort of criminal record. The most high-profile on social media is Lovlesh Tiwari, whose bio says he is not a Shaastra-wala Brahmin but a shastra-wala Brahmin (not scriptures, but arms).
Source: Social media

New Delhi: A day after his son Asad Ahmed was killed in a police encounter in Uttar Pradesh, mafia boss turned politician Atiq Ahmed and his brother Ashraf were shot dead on live TV and while under full police protection by three armed gunmen in Prayagraj. The murder took place while the brothers were being taken to hospital for a ‘routine medical check-up’. As Atiq and Ashraf stopped outside the hospital to speak to the media, three men apparently posing as media personnel opened fire on them from a close distance, killing them on the spot. The police made no attempt to stop the gunmen and tried to subdue them only well after the Ahmed brothers had fallen.

Eyewitnesses say that the shooters then shouted slogans of ‘Jai Shri Ram’ and did not resist being held by the police. The three shooters have been identified as Lovlesh Tiwari, Arun Maurya and Sunny Singh. On social media, pictures of Tiwari with BJP leaders have emerged. Speaking to the media, his father Yash Kumar claimed that they had severed ties with Lovlesh because of his drug addiction. His mother said that Lovlesh was deeply religious and a devotee of Lord Hanuman. The father said that Lovlesh was arrested because he had slapped a woman last year.

While the family says that they had no information about Lovlesh’s activities and links to the Bajrang Dal, his social media history points towards Hindu extremist views. The Wire trawled through Facebook profiles of Lovlesh and found that Lovlesh’s bio prominently mentions him as an armed Brahmin or Shastr wala Brahmin. He has over 1,500 friends on Facebook and has also posted pictures with guns on his profile.

The Wire reached out to a Bajrang Dal leader who has featured in multiple pictures with Lovlesh. He said that he had met Lovlesh a fortnight ago at a birthday party and he did not find anything unusual, but he doesn’t know what happened during these 15 days. “I have known him for a long time. He is not how the media is reporting about him. He was deeply religious and a good friend. We are shocked and don’t know how he ended up there,” he said.

Also read: Three Important Questions the UP Police Must Answer on Atiq Ahmed’s Murder

When The Wire pointed towards his radical views on social media, the Bajrang Dal leader said that sometimes Lovlesh used to get agitated at anti-Hindu commentary and post remarks in retaliation but he did not have negative views about Muslims. The right-wing leader also talked about a year-old incident in which Lovlesh got involved in a physical brawl.

When asked about the claims by the family that Tiwari was involved in drugs, he said that he was frustrated because of being jobless.

In one Facebook post by Lovlesh posted two years ago, he said that he’s “addicted to Hindutva like liquor” and those who don’t chant Jai Shri Ram have a “defect in their blood”. When we asked about Lovlesh’s connection with the Dal, the Bajrang Dal leader said that Lovlesh has been associated with them “for many years”.

Media reports claim that the other accused also have a criminal history. Sunny Singh, one of the accused, is said to have been booked in 17 cases while Arun Maurya is charged with murdering a railway cop. The families of the accused have alleged that they were drug addicts.

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