Meghalaya elections: Probe begins into NCP candidate J Sangma’s killing

Posters were found in many villages under Williamnagar constituency threatening people of consequences if they voted for Jonathone N Sangma.

Meghalaya Elections 2018 Updated: Feb 19, 2018 18:37 IST
Press Trust of India
Press Trust of India
Press Trust of India, Shillong
Meghalaya elections,NCP candidate,Jonathone N Sangma
Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) candidate from Williamnagar, Jonathone N Sangma was killed on Sunday evening.(File Photo)

The police have started investigating the killing of NCP candidate Jonathone N Sangma and three others in a suspected IED blast on Sunday, East Garo Hills deputy commissioner Ram Kumar said. No arrests have been made in connection with the blast, he said.

Election to the Williamnagar assembly constituency has been countermanded following the 43-year-old Sangma’s death, Kumar, who is also the district election officer, said. Besides Sangma, who was contesting from Williamnagar, one of his security guards and two supporters died on the spot, when his convoy was ambushed by unidentified assailants at Sawilgre village, 14 km from Samanda block headquarters.

Last night’s report had said two of his security guards were killed. Three people -- a security guard and two others -- were injured in the explosion. They were initially taken to Williamnagar Civil Hospital and then admitted to a hospital in Guwahati in neighbouring Assam, Kumar said.

No militant organisation has claimed responsibility for the blast. Kumar said posters put up by unidentified people were found on Friday in Nenghkra, Chisobibra, Chimagre and Samanda Dolwarigre villages under Williamnagar constituency. They had messages threatening people of consequences if they voted for Sangma.

The posters written in Garo language also had pictures of bullets and blood. Assembly elections for the 60-member House in Meghalaya are slated to be held on February 27. Around 30 people were travelling in four vehicles in Sangma’s convoy when the blast struck them between 7pm and 7.30pm.

The vehicle carrying Sangma bore the brunt of the explosion. Preliminary reports suggest that an IED was used in the attack but detailed reports are still awaited, Kumar said.

The Garo National Liberation Army, a proscribed militant outfit active in the state’s South and East Garo Hills districts, was campaigning against Jonathone. During the 2013 elections, Jonathone had received death threats and was provided additional security based on the threat perception, a police officer said. Chief minister Mukul Sangma and other political leaders have condoled his death.

First Published: Feb 19, 2018 18:36 IST