Gangster Mukhtar Ansari fall out : Decades of infamy unveiled

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mukhtar ansari dead
Deceased mafia Mukhtar Ansari (Photo: Web)

Gangster-politician Mukhtar Ansari passed away due to cardiac arrest in Uttar Pradesh’s Banda on March 28. Ansari, a former five-time legislator, was embroiled in about 63 criminal cases, including murder, kidnapping and extortion. His son, Umar Ansari, has claimed that the demise was not a natural death but an orchestrated murder.

The UP government has initiated a probe into Mukhtar Ansari’s demise. Under the tenure of UP CM Yogi Adityanath, mafias and criminals have reportedly faced difficulties, and mostly found themselves behind the bars. Consequently, particular sections sympathising with the mafias and ideologically pivoted towards the political parties harbouring such elements have started accusing state government for the killing. This comes at a time when just a few days ago, Mukhtar requested the court to transfer him to any jail of non-BJP ruled state citing his slow poisoning by administration. However, opinions on social media regarding Ansari’s death remain divided, with some celebrating it as the demise of a barbaric mafia, while others allege it to be a state-sponsored hit disguised as a cardiac arrest.

Criminal and political history of Mukhtar Ansari

Ansari, 60, spent most of his time since 2005 in various jails in Punjab and Uttar Pradesh, establishing himself as one of Uttar Pradesh’s most feared ‘bahubalis’. He represented the Mau (Sadar) assembly seat from 1997 to 2022. Despite enjoying a powerful persona and political influence, some of Ansari’s extrajudicial actions, including the killing of BJP MLA Krishnanad Rai, proved detrimental. Although acquitted in most cases out of over 60 registered against him, Ansari was convicted in eight cases, including that of Nityanad Rai.

Earlier this month, Ansari received a life sentence for his involvement in a fake arms license case dating back to 1986. He began his political career in the 1990s as a student of Banaras Hindu University and gradually expanded his criminal network in eastern Uttar Pradesh, locally called as Purvanchal, starting as a shooter in the Makhanu Singh gang.

Krishnanand Rai’s assassination

In April 2023, Ansari received a 10-year prison sentence for the 2005 murder of BJP MLA Krishnanand Rai. Rai’s body was found riddled with bullets, along with six others, by assailants wielding AK-47 assault rifles. Rai had defeated Mukhtar’s brother and five-time MLA Afzal Ansari in the 2002 UP Assembly polls. Feeling humiliated, Mukhtar orchestrated the murder plot against Krishnanand Rai while he was in jail in a riots case. Krishnanand Rai, known for his vigilant security measures, was unfortunately, traveling without a bulletproof car on the day of his assassination, marking one of the most brutal political murders in history.

Additionally, in June 2023, Ansari was convicted in the 1991 murder of Awadesh Rai, brother of Congress leader Ajay Rai. Ajay Rai is contesting against Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Varanasi in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections.

He won his first assembly election from Mau (Sadar) in 1996 as a Bahujan Samaj Party candidate and won the seat five times until 2022, even during his periods of incarceration.

Shailendra Singh confronts the mafia

Around 20 years ago, in 2004, Mukhtar Ansari was at the peak of his criminal empire. Ansari’s rivalry escalated with BJP MLA Krishnanand Rai. Meanwhile Ansari’s convoy was attacked and it was suspected that Rai was behind the attack. Singh intercepted calls confirming Ansari’s attempts to purchase a light machine gun. Subsequently, Singh led a raid that led to the seizure of the machine gun and cartridges in Varanasi. He charged Mukhtar Ansari under, now repealed, Prevention of Terrorism Act (POTA) 2002.

Shailendra Singh highlighted the political pressures he faced and how the Mulayam Singh Yadav-led government forced him to resign within 15 days. Despite Ansari’s status as a feared gangster and politician, Singh exhibited courage in pursuing him amid adversity. Following this, Singh faced challenges in finding accommodation and supporting his family, with only Yogi Adityanath and then Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi showing concern for his situation.

Rivalry with Yogi Adityanath

Ansari’s demise comes amidst Yogi Adityanath’s governance, which has seen a crackdown on criminals and mafia elements. Yogi Adityanath has always been vocal against the mafias and criminals in the state. After the Mau riots, Yogi Adityanath, the then MP from Gorakhpur, announced that he would help seeking justice for the innocent people killed, challenging Mukhtar Ansari. In 2008, he again challenged Ansari by announcing a rally against the Azamgarh terrorism under the banner of his organisation, Hindu Yuva Vahini. His convoy was attacked and he barely escaped the vehicle just before the attack. He accused Mukhtar Ansari of plotting to kill him. After Yogi Adityanath assumed the UP CM office, he launched a crackdown on mafia elements leading them to jail.

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