Atiq Ahmed and his brother Ashraf were shot at close range late on Saturday.
A former Indian member of parliament and his brother were killed by gunmen who posed as journalists while they were being escorted in handcuffs by police to the hospital, as per authorities.
Atiq Ahmed, 61, who had been imprisoned since 2019 after being found guilty of kidnapping, and his brother Ashraf were shot at close range late on Saturday, according to television footage.
“According to preliminary information, three persons posing as journalists approached them and opened fire… The attackers have been held and are being questioned,” police official Prashant Kumar said.
The attackers can be seen shouting Hindu slogans following the heinous attack in Prayagraj, a city in the north.
However, police did not reveal whether they were investigating a possible sectarian motive in the killings.
According to local media reports, one of the shooters even had a television camera and another had a microphone bearing a television channel’s logo.
In a firefight a few days prior, authorities in the same Indian state of Uttar Pradesh claimed to have killed Ahmed’s 19-year-old son and his collaborator. Both were wanted in a case of murder.
In recent years, scores of suspects have died in the state in similar “police encounters”, which rights groups claim frequently result in extrajudicial executions.
Ahmed had claimed last month in a petition to India’s top court that his life was under threat from the police.
Following his shooting, gatherings of more than four people were banned Sunday across the crime-rife northern state of 200 million people ruled by the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party.
The shooting enraged opposition parties accusing the BJP of ruling by fear.
It is worth noting that numerous criminal prosecutions have been filed against hundreds of politicians from all political parties in India. These involve nearly half of the government ministers in the state including the state Premier, as per the independent monitoring group the Association for Democratic Reforms.