Nine days ahead of the February 27 Meghalaya Assembly elections, suspected Garo National Liberation Army (GNLA) rebels on Sunday evening shot dead Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) candidate Jonathone N Sangma along with two security personnel in Williamnagar.
Sources said Sangma along with two PSOs were gunned down by suspected rebels at around 7.50 pm at Samanda when he was returning to Williamnagar in a Scorpio from Sobokgre area in Meghalaya’s East Garo Hills district after election campaign.
The militants first triggered an IED blast, and then opened fire on Scorpio in which Sangma with two PSOs and two villagers were travelling.
“He had two security personnel with him. We are yet to get details. Our team is reaching the spot,” East Garo Hills SP Ringrang T Sangma told Northeast Now.
Unconfirmed sources said along with Sangma and the PSOs, the driver of the vehicle and two villagers also died in the militants’ firing.
38-year-old Sangma, who was a businessman by profession, contested the Assembly polls from Williamnagar (ST) constituency on Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) ticket.
In 2013 election, Jonathone had lost to sitting legislator Deborah C. Marak.
In remote villages under Williamnagar (ST) constituency posters put up by unidentified miscreants read, “If anybody dares to vote for Jonathone Sangma, they would be killed”. During 2013 election also there were attacks on Jonathone.
Politicians of the state cutting across party line have condemned the incident.
“We strongly condemn the incident and we stand by Jonathan’s family at this moment. These incidents shouldn’t take place in a state like Meghalaya,” said Vincent Pala, working president of Meghalaya Congress unit and Lok Sabha MP from Shillong.
“It is sad that such an incident has happen in Meghalaya during election. I express my condolence to the bereaved family,” said Conrad K. Sangma, NPP chief, and Lok Sabha MP from Tura.