Bangalore: Flying in the face of police claims of tight security in the run-up the next month’s Assembly elections, a gang of five armed men attacked two persons on the busy Yediyur main road in Basavangudi Tuesday afternoon.

Their targets were Shiva Kumar (25) and Vijay Kumar alias Viji (29), both career criminals.

They are in hospital and are said to be in a critical condition.

Police said the two were sitting on a roadside stone slab on the road when the gang came in a car and attacked them before fleeing. Even as passersby remained mute spectators, Shiva Kumar sustained serious injuries on his head and Viji, on his hands.

The victims were earlier associates of Topu Raja who had allegedly contracted them to kill his wife five years ago. Arrested in the case, they came out on bail and started avoiding Raja, who was forcing them to work for him again.

But, police said, as Viji had fallen in love with a woman, the two decided to reform themselves and were looking for regular jobs.

Enraged by this, Raja reportedly asked his associates to attack the duo.

A case of attempt to murder has been registered at Basavangudi police station.