Williamnagar: Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh on Monday said murder of a Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) candidate highlights lawlessness in the Congress ruled Meghalaya.
Addressing a public rally in East Garo Hills, the Home Minister grieved the death of Jonathone N Sangma, NCP candidate for Williamnagar seat, and said his gruesome murder was the outcome of the Congress government’s failure on the law and order front.
“The attack on the NCP candidate is a testimony that Meghalaya Chief Minister Mukul Sangma has failed to provide security to the citizens of the state”, Singh said.
Benjamin Marak, an eyewitness to the incident, who was in a separate car behind said the miscreants could have been lying in wait for his convoy.
“It was an ambush, a pre-planned strike,” he said, recounting how the bomb ripped into the SUV, carrying the NCP candidate as it reached Samanda.
East Garo Hills Deputy Commissioner Ramkumar Singh said a policeman named Samin Hassan (30) was killed along with Jonathone N Sangma.
Two others killed on the spot were identified as Cribinath D Shira (35) and Baichung Ch Momin (40), a former member of the Garo National Liberation Army (GNLA).
Three injured in the ill-fated vehicle were sent to the Guwahati Medical College Hospital who are said to be in critical condition.
The injured has been identified as Silman N Sangma (45), Nur Abdul Miah, PSO, and Behensing Marak (57).
“No militant organisation or anyone else has claimed responsibility for the attack. Apart from finding the miscreants, we are investigating some posters of threat to voters supporting Sangma at Samanda, Damagre, Nengkhra and other areas,” the Deputy Commissioner added.
He said they had gone to Sawilgre village under Samanda block in East Garo Hills to allay the fear that the electorates should not bow down to the diktats served by the militants.
However, while returning an IED explosion blew off the vehicle.
Meghalaya state president of NCP Saleng Sangma has urged the government to institute an enquiry into the incident.
“It will be too early to say who will replace the candidate”, he said.
Sitting legislator and Congress candidate and Meghalaya Education Minister Deborah Marak termed the incident as very unfortunate and expressed her condolence to the bereaved family.
She condemned the attack and sought for a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) probe into the incident.
Meghalaya’s Chief Electoral Officer Frederick Roy Kharkongor said the Election Commission has been sounded for deployment of more forces in the western half of Meghalaya comprising the Garo Hills and encompassing 24 of the state’s 60 assembly seats.
He added that polling in Williamnagar, where the slain NCP candidate was pitted against eight others has been deferred.
“The next date of polling will be announced in due course”, Kharkongor stated.
“We had a meeting with top police officials and agreed more companies of central paramilitary forces are required in the Garo Hills for fair and fear-free elections,” he informed.
Senior Meghalaya Police officials said the needle of suspicion was on members of the banned Garo National Liberation Army (GNLA).
A peace procession was taken out in the town and the market remained shut for today as a mark of protest against the attack.
The market will also remain close as a mark of mourning tomorrow. (ANI)