Attacks on Political Figures Shake Japan and India

Two incidents of political violence shook Japan and India this weekend.


Two incidents of political violence shook Japan and India this weekend.

  • Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida escaped an explosion unharmed after an apparent smoke bomb was thrown at him just prior to a speech.
  • The suspected perpetrator was identified as 24-year-old Ryuji Kimura. The motive for the attack is unclear. Kishida had just finished touring the finishing harbor in Wakyama when Kimura allegedly threw his device.
  • Kishida pledged to increase security for Sunday’s G-7 meeting of ministers from the world’s largest economies.
  • In India, a “mafia don-turned-politician” was assassinated on live television on Sunday. Atiq Ahmed, a former lawmaker and convicted criminal was being escorted by police when a gunman shot him in the head at close range. Seconds later, the gunman murdered Atiq’s brother Ashraf. 
  • Ahmed had been charged with dozens of counts of kidnapping, murder, and extortion over the last two decades. Atiq Ahmed was a powerful player in the politics and criminal world of Allahabad city’s western neighborhoods.
  • The killings occurred in the state of Uttar Pradesh, which is governed by the ruling Hindu nationalist Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP). Since the BJP came to power, more than 180 people facing criminal charges have been killed in so-called “police encounters.”

reporting from the left side of the aisle


  • The televised murder of the Ahmed brothers stoked fears about “India’s slide toward extrajudicial violence,” the New York Times reported. Four of Ahmed’s associates, including his son, were shot dead in deadly “encounters,” the Indian euphemism for extrajudicial executions by police officers.
  • The Guardian noted the attack on Kishida came less than one year after former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was shot dead at a campaign event. Kishida, like Abe, was at a campaign event for their ruling Liberal Democratic Party at the time of the attack.
  • CNN reported a city council member saw a “cylindrical silver object” fly through the air shortly before an explosion was heard. The attack occurred in the city of Wakayama.



  • The New York Post reported the three assailants who murdered the Ahmed brothers arrived on motorcycles and were apparently posing as journalists.
  • The Wall Street Journal described the scene: “The suspect was wearing a mask, glasses and sneakers and he carried a gray backpack. He threw what looked like a silver-colored cylinder toward Mr. Kishida and it landed a few feet from the prime minister, according to footage of the incident. The footage showed an additional cylindrical object near the suspect that didn’t explode.”
  • Fox News noted that while reports described the explosive thrown at Japanese PM Kishida as a “smoke bomb,” it is still not clear what the device was, if it had a delayed fuse, or whether the suspect had more.

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© Dominic Moore, 2023