By Sushil Kutty
On April 12 gangster-turned-politician-turned-jailbird Atiq Ahmed told journalists enough was enough, “now that I have been ground to dust, please spare my wife and children and let them live in peace”. The repentant with remorse. The next day, April 13, Atiq Ahmed’s favourite son Asad Ahmed was killed in a police encounter. Like they say, No.13 is unlucky for some.
The gangster-politician with 44 years of ruthless mafiadom behind him. Not a pulp fiction creation, but the real number who had the number on everybody who he had reason to come in contact with. Many who lived to tell the story; many who were killed before they could!
Now, inexorably, relentlessly, Atiq Ahmed’s arrogance has been ground to dust and April 13th afternoon, shortly after breaking down in a Prayagraj court after being told of the encounter-killing of his 19-year-old son, a shoe was hurled at Atiq Ahmed’s head by someone in the crowd. It missed its mark.
But Atiq Ahmed had nowhere to run. Sentenced to life in a 2005 kidnapping case, Atiq could be sentenced to death in the 2023 murder of the same person who had been kidnapped in 2005. Truly, Atiq Ahmed is being chased to his ‘Final Destination’ by the late Umesh Pal, whose relative Raju Pal was shot dead on the orders of Atiq Ahmed.
The gangster-turned-politician has plenty of time left on the planet to regret his actions. Time to ruminate and stew in his juices. Till a couple of months ago, Atiq Ahmed was still living the “gangsta-life”. Ensconced in the labyrinths of the Sabarmati Jail in Ahmedabad, Atiq ruled the roost, plotting crime and dealing punishment from behind the bars. Anybody who thwarted his extortion calls was “captured” and frog-marched to his cell where he was beaten to an inch of his life!
Yup, the jail kept its doors open for Atiq Ahmed. Till the time Atiq Ahmed’s lizard brain flipped and it occurred to him that an Umesh Pal left alone was a loose-end left untied. Old victim Umesh Pal would be the death of Atiq Ahmed. At that time nobody thought of Asad Ahmed, first year Law student, 19 going on 20, said to be Atiq’s favourite and mother Shaista Parveen’s apple of the eye.
Today, less than 50 days after Atiq Ahmed settled imaginary scores with Umesh Pal, the supremely confident gangster is a mental wreck, his family scattered in various penitentiaries and powerful forces bent on teaching him a lesson and serving him the just desserts he so justly deserves; just like he used to serve his own brand of punishment to those who refused to bend to his criminal demands.
Atiq Ahmed! The ‘Don’ amassed hundreds of crores in extortion. He murdered, he broke bones; he encroached and he grabbed what was not his. He beat his victims to pulp. He watched the life ebb from people who appealed to his non-existent better self. He lived by the rule “fear is the key”. Judges and police trembled at the mere mention of his single syllable name. At one time, 10 judges in a row refused to hear a case in which he was an accused.
No Rottweiler would have been scarier than this dog-lover. Ever since 2020, when Atiq Ahmed’s family villa was demolished by the Yogi government, the Don’s five Great Danes have been living in the care of the Prayagraj administration. Atiq Ahmed’s two youngest sons are also in the care of a juvenile home run by the local government. And his wife is a proclaimed offender in the Umesh Pal murder case.
To say that Atiq Ahmed isn’t a lonely man would be like saying there isn’t a morning and an evening to his life. Atiq Ahmed could do with some gharka-company, gharka-khana and gharka-pyaar. That said, however curious it might sound, loads of people feel for this man with the fading Don’s touch. And that includes journalists, politicians, businessmen and ornery folk who would never call him a Robinhood, but still think he deserves more than Yogi’s ire! That said, in another life, Atiq Ahmed would still remain Atiq Ahmed! (IPA Service)