Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh on Monday used the killing of a Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) candidate to underline the “lawlessness in Congress-ruled” Meghalaya.
Addressing a BJP rally in Songsak assembly seat, Mr. Singh grieved the death of Jonathone N Sangma — NCP’s candidate for the Williamnagar seat — and said his gruesome murder was the outcome of the Congress government’s failure on the law and order front.
The Home Minister campaigned for BJP candidate Thomas N. Marak in Songsak, adjoining Williamnagar where election was countermanded following Mr Sangma’s killing along with three others on Sunday night.
“Meghalaya has 57 police stations but only 39 are active. This shows how serious the Congress is about security of the people,” Mr Singh said.
He criticised the Mukul Sangma-led coalition government in the state for not utilising funds, particularly in the health sector. “It is a cruel joke that people of Meghalaya have no electricity and water. But BJP will ensure only development rains on this abode of clouds,” he said.
More forces sought
Meghalaya’s Chief Electoral Officer Frederick Roy Kharkongor said Election Commission has been sounded for deployment of more forces in the western half of Meghalaya comprising the Garo Hills and encompassing 24 of the State’s 60 assembly seats.
Polling in Williamnagar, where the slain NCP candidate was pitted against eight others including the State’s social welfare minister Deborah C Marak of Congress has been deferred. The next date of polling will be announced in due course, Mr Kharkongor said.
“We had a meeting with top police officials and agreed more companies of central paramilitary forces are required in the Garo Hills for fair and fear-free elections,” he told The Hindu from State capital Shillong.
Senior Meghalaya Police officials said the needle of suspicion was on members of the banned Garo National Liberation Army (GNLA), one of two active extremist outfits in the Garo Hills. The other group is Liberation of A’chik Elite Force.
Two more extremist groups — A’chik National Volunteers Council and People’s Liberation Front of Meghalaya — have been lying low for some time now.
‘It was an ambush’
Benjamin Marak, a survivor of the fatal attack on Mr Sangma, said the miscreants could have been waiting for his convoy. “It was an ambush, a pre-planned strike,” he said.
East Garo Hills Deputy Commissioner Ramkumar S said a policeman named Shamin Hassan was killed along with Mr Sangma. Two others killed on the spot were identified as Cribinath D Shira and Baichung Ch Momin, a former member of the banned GNLA.
Three others in the ill-fated vehicle, battling death, were brought to the Guwahati Medical College Hospital.
“No militant organisation or anyone else has claimed responsibility for the attack. Apart from finding the miscreants, we are investigating some posters of threat (to voters supporting Mr Sangma) at Samanda, Damagre, Nengkhra and other areas,” Mr Ramkumar said.
Nagaland BJP candidate escapes bid on life
The Nagaland unit of BJP has claimed that Mmhonlumo Kikon, the party legislator and candidate from Bhandari assembly seat, escaped a bid on his life near Yimpang village in Wokha district Saturday night.
“This conspiratorial attack at the behest of contending rivals is part of a disturbing escalation of violence against our party cadres. We appeal to the state election officials to investigate this attempted murder,” the BJP said in a statement on Sunday night.