Williamnagar: Jonathone N Sangma, a Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader in poll-bound Meghalaya was killed in the very constituency he was scheduled to contest the election from on Sunday night.
Sangma, 43, was killed along with his two security guards and his driver about 7.50 pm. He was the NCP candidate from Williamnagar constituency in East Garo Hills. Reportedly, an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) killed him at Samanda in Williamnagar when he was returning from a poll campaign. The state goes to polls on 27 February.
Ringrang TG Momin, Superintendent of Police, East Garo Hills, said he was yet to confirm how the aspiring MLA was killed as some reports claimed he was shot at from a close distance. The SP said it was too early to comment who could be behind the incident.
A few days ago, posters had appeared on trees and walls in many places in Williamnagar, warning people not to cast vote for Sangma. Written in Garo language, the posters read: “Anyone who dares to vote for Jonathone Sangma would be killed.”
It is learnt that Sangma had been facing similar threats since 2013 and he had even faced attacks by unknown miscreants earlier. During the last state election in February 2013, he had filed a case against Congress leader Deborah C Marak in Williamnagar police station for instigating militants of the Garo National Liberation Army against him during the elections. The police had then filed a chargesheet against Marak under Sections 120B, 171F and 506 of Indian Penal Code.
Sangma had contested the 2013 polls as an independent candidate and had recently joined the NCP. In 2013, he had secured second highest number of votes, losing out to Marak.
National People’s Party Chief Conrad Sangma condemned the fatal attack. "It is unfortunate that this kind of incident has happened during election. I express my heartfelt condolence to the bereaved family. I would take up the matter with the Centre and ensure that peace prevails during the election in Meghalaya," he said.
In a Facebook post, Meghalaya Chief Minister Mukul Sangma wrote: “Deeply saddened to hear about the unexpected loss of Jonathone Sangma. My heartfelt condolences to his near and dear ones. The blood of innocents spilled by the enemies of the State will not disturb the peace in Meghalaya. The desperate act will not be tolerated. The perpetrators of the crime will be apprehended expeditiously and brought to book.”
The author is a Guwahati-based freelance writer and a member of 101Reporters.com, a pan-India network of grassroots reporters.
Updated Date: Feb 23, 2018 16:23:53 IST