The killing of NCP’s Williamnagar candidate Jonathone K Sangma in an IED blast on Sunday night has sent shock waves in poll-bound Meghalaya with condemnation on the barbaric incident pouring in from all quarters.
Meghalaya Chief Minister Mukul Sangma said, “Deeply saddened to hear about the unexpected loss of Jonathone N 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. This desperate act will not be tolerated. The perpetrators of the crime will be apprehended expeditiously and brought to book”.
National People’s Party (NPP) chief Conrad K Sangma has also vehemently condemned the incident and termed it as a cowardly and merciless act of killing of innocent people. “The attack is an assault on democracy and freedom of the people of Meghalaya. We will not be cowed down by fear and intimidation and we promise that we will not let their sacrifice go in vain. We resolve to continue the fight against violence of all forms and work for peace and development to lift our state from the bondage of fear and oppression,” said Conrad, who is also the Tura Lok Sabha MP.
Through a statement, the Garo Students’ Union (GSU) also expressed deep regret and apprehension on the tragic political killing.
During the peak of insurgency in 1990s and in elections held in Meghalaya from 2004 to 2013, this is for the first time that a party candidate has been victimised to violence.
“It is not only tragic but could be a precursor or an indication to further political killings. Every person has the right to exercise their democratic rights and aspirations as a candidate in a democratic process is the right of every valid citizen of the land, which is ultimately the rights of the people to decide,” Tengsak G Momin said in a statement issued on Monday.
He also stated, “This fratricidal act is a very unfortunate incident and a trend which must be nipped in the bud.”
The Civil Society Women’s Organisation (CSWO) also expressed condolence for the family of those killed in the incident. “It is shocking that after such a serious attack, no Police could provide information to many media who were seeking information in such a serious case which points to a fact that there could well be some strong nexus link involving police in the attack,” said Agnes Kharshiing of CSWO.
The police should know they work for the State and are paid with public money and do not at all owe allegiance only to politicians and public should not have to run around for collection of information, said Kharshiing.
The CSWO also demanded an immediate probe into the incident and also sought an answer from the Election Commission as to why the authorities concerned failed to provide prior inputs and security on such threats and terror in an area just 13-14 km away from Williamnagar town.
A conglomeration of several organisations of Williamnagar, East Garo Hills, comprising GSU, FAF, AIGU and others strongly condemned the dastardly killing. “The people cannot be dictated by their cowardly acts. Everyone has the right to stand in an election or choose their leader, hence no one has the right to tell whom to vote and whom not to,” a joint release stated.
The NGOs also demanded an independent inquiry into the incident. “Those criminals who are behind this cowardly act should be arrested and brought to book,” it added. They also demanded that the police be pro-active in tackling such kind of threats and alleged politician-militant nexus be thoroughly investigated and those involved should be brought to task.