Slain Arunachal Pradesh MLA was confident of re-election
Aboh, the MLA from Khonsa West, was contesting against Phawang Lowang from the Bharatiya Janata Party in the assembly polls.Updated: May 23, 2019 06:48 IST
National People’s Party (NPP) legislator Tirong Aboh, who was among the 11 people gunned down by suspected militants in Arunachal Pradesh’s Tirap district on Tuesday, was confident of his re-election and was carrying firecrackers in his car to celebrate his “victory”, his supporters said.
“One of the four cars in the convoy which went up in flames after the attack had firecrackers in it,” Sunil Garg, inspector general of police, Arunachal Pradesh, said on Wednesday.
Aboh, the MLA from Khonsa West, was contesting against Phawang Lowang from the Bharatiya Janata Party in the assembly polls. “There is no way that the BJP candidate can win from this seat and defeat Aboh,” said one of his close aides.
Polling for 57 of the 60 assembly seats in the state was held along with the first phase of the Lok Sabha elections on April 11. On March 28, three BJP candidates were declared winners uncontested by the chief election officer of the state.
“We are confident that he would win the seat even though he was not there anymore,” said Noklam Bisai, president of the Tirap Unit of the NPP, adding that Aboh had been receiving threats on phone.
“We are preparing our counting agents for tomorrow,” he said adding if he wins, it will necessitate a by-election in the Khonsa West Assembly seat.
In a statement, NPP president and Meghalaya chief minister Conrad Sangma said, “He [Aboh] had voiced his confidence to retain his seat…and expressed his desire to work for peace and development of the constituency.”
Sangma said he had taken up the incident with Union home minister Rajnath Singh.
Garg said investigations were on to ascertain the number of attackers involved in Tuesday’s incident and their affiliation. “We suspect it was the handiwork of an underground group but we cannot say which one,” he said, adding the Arunachal Pradesh Police had done a threat assessment of the slain MLA and deputed four security guards.
Located at the tri-junction of Assam, Nagaland and Myanmar, Tirap is known to have significant presence of insurgent outfits, including the National Socialist Council of Nagaland (Isak-Muivah), which was suspected to be behind Tuesday’s attack. The NSCN (I-M) is currently engaged in peace talks with the central government.
Ashiho Asoumai, a senior leader of the militant outfit based in Camp Hebron near Dimapur, Nagaland, said he “was not aware of the incident and came to know of it through media”.
A convoy comprising four cars came under attack on Tuesday afternoon. Besides the MLA, his teenage son was among 11 people killed in the incident.
Police said no arrests have been made so far even as the security forces stepped up their combing operations to nab the culprits. “Troops of the Indian Army have launched a massive search operation in the jungles of Tirap, Longding and Changlang to nab the perpetrators of the ghastly killings,” a defence spokesperson said in a statement.
An official of the special branch, the intelligence wing of the Arunachal Pradesh police, claimed there was no specific input about the attack.
A personal security officer of Aboh, who is among the four people who survived the attack, said 12-13 assailants fired indiscriminately with automatic weapons before fleeing. “I ducked to cock my gun and remained so as bullets rained on our side,” he told a local television channel.
An officer posted at Khonsa police station said the police have recovered empty cartridges of the AK series weapons.
Meanwhile, Bisai said a pall of gloom has descended on Aboh’s native Dadam village. “We have decided that a mass funeral will be held on May 24,” he said.