Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge said there are courts to ensure that criminals get the harshest punishment but "playing with law and order only gives birth to anarchy"
Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge. File Pic
Criminals should be given the harshest punishment but it should be under the law of the land and subverting the rule of law for any political purpose is dangerous for democracy, the Congress said on Sunday after gangster-turned-politician Atiq Ahmad and his brother Ashraf were shot dead in Uttar Pradesh.
Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge said there are courts to ensure that criminals get the harshest punishment but "playing with law and order only gives birth to anarchy".
In a series of tweets in Hindi, Kharge said the Constitution of the country has been made by those people who fought for freedom and this Constitution and law is paramount.
"No one can be allowed to mess with it. Judiciary has the right to decide the punishment of the criminal. This right cannot be given to any government, any leader or any person who violates the law," the Congress chief said.
"Those who advocate the law of the gun and mobocracy only destroy the Constitution.Whoever interferes with our justice system for political purpose to intimidate and threaten someone in the society, that person is also liable for punishment along with the criminal," Kharge said.
There are courts to ensure that any criminal gets the harshest punishment, he said, adding that "playing with law and order only gives birth to anarchy".
Ahmad (60) and his brother Ashraf were shot dead at point-blank range by three men posing as journalists in the middle of a media interaction on Saturday night while police personnel were escorting them to a medical college in Prayagraj for a checkup.
In a statement, Congress general secretary in-charge communications Jairam Ramesh said the rule of law as laid down in our country's Constitution is paramount.
"Criminals should be given the harshest punishment, but it should be under the law of the land. Subverting or violating the rule of law and judicial process for any political purpose is dangerous for our democracy," Ramesh said.
"Whoever does this, or gives protection to those who do such acts, should also be held responsible and the law should be strictly enforced on them," he said.
It should be our collective endeavour to ensure that the judicial system and rule of law is at all times honoured in letter and spirit, Ramesh said.
Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, who is AICC in-charge of Uttar Pradesh, also tweeted the Congress' view on the matter.
Without naming anyone, Priyanka Gandhi tweeted out what was effectively the Hindi version of the party statement.
Ahmed and Ashraf, both jailed in Prayagraj, were in handcuffs when they were killed in full view of camera crews around 10 pm.
The horrifying visuals were circulated widely on social media platforms and television channels. The last rites of Ahmad's son Asad, who was gunned down in a police encounter in Jhansi on April 13, were performed in Prayagraj just hours before the shooting.
Briefing reporters about the incident, Commissioner of Police, Prayagraj, Ramit Sharma said the three assailants, who were arrested immediately after the incident, had joined the group of media persons who were trying to get sound bites from Ahmad and Ashraf.
"In accordance with a mandatory legal requirement, Atiq Ahmad and Ashraf were brought to the hospital for a medical examination. According to preliminary information, three men posing as journalists approached them and opened fire. Ahmad and Ashraf were killed in the attack. The attackers have been held and are being questioned," Sharma said.
Video footage showed a man thrusting a gun at Ahmad's head as he talked to reporters and the former Samajwadi Party (SP) MP collapsing. The footage also showed the three assailants firing at the brothers even after they had fallen.
The bullet-riddled bodies of Ahmad and Ashraf were taken away from the spot as tension gripped the area after the sensational killings.
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