Surrendered Hynniewtrep National Liberation Council (HNLC) Chesterfield Thangkhiew died in the early hours on Friday in a retaliatory firing by Meghalaya police in Shillong.
Police officials said a joint team of East Jaintia Hills police and East Khasi Hills police raided the house of surrendered HNLC leader Chesterfield Thangkhiew around 3 am on Friday at Kynton Massar in Mawlai in connection with the recent blasts in the state.
Two persons, including a woman, were injured in an IED blast by HNLC militants at Laitmukhrah in Shillong on Tuesday.
Earlier in July, suspected HNLC militants triggered another blast at a police reserve barracks in East Jaintia Hills district headquarters injuring a policeman and damaging buildings.
As soon as the team entered the former militant’s house, he attacked the team with a knife and the police subsequently opened fire in retaliation.
Police said he was injured in the firing and was taken to a hospital, where the doctor declared him ‘brought dead’.
AIGP GK langrai in a statement said that an operation was launched by police in the early morning on Friday to arrest Cherishterfield Thangkhiew and his associates in connection with their involvement in connection with the IED explosion.
“However, when the police team tried to enter inside his house in Kynton Massar, the surrendered cadre attacked the team with a knife in an attempt to escape,” GK langrai said.
“The police team exerting the right to private defence, fired a single round which hit the surrendered cadre, and after being hit, he was immediately rushed to Civil Hospital, Shillong for medical assistance but unfortunately, he succumbed to his injuries,” said the AIGP.
Police recovered one 9 mm pistol, one knife, a laptop and a number of mobile phones from the house former HNLC general secretary.
Police have also arrested Chesterfield’s two associates from his house.
A case is being registered in connection with the incident and the investigation of the case will be supervised by a senior officer to further ascertain the facts and circumstances, he said.
Chesterfield Thangkhiew, who was the self-styled general secretary of the banned rebel outfit HNLC, had surrendered before Meghalaya Deputy CM Prestone Tynsong at Shillong in October, 2018.
He was known as one of the most dreaded militant leaders of the state was the founding leader of the HNLC.
The HNLC leader was also instrumental in setting up more than six training camps of the outfit in Sylhet and Maulavibazar districts of Bangladesh.
54-year-old Thangkhiew, son of Stevenson Thangkhiew of Mawlai Kynton Masar, joined Hynniewtrep Achik Liberation Council (HALC), the first militant outfit in Meghalaya, in August 1987 and held the post of general secretary.
He was actively involved in political mobilization.
Later when HALC was disbanded, a new rebel outfit–HNLC was floated in 1997 and he became its general secretary. In 2004, he left Meghalaya for Bangladesh and never returned till his surrender in 2018.