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Dreaded militant killed in Meghalaya

Shira was killed in a gunfight at Dobu in East Garo Hills district on Saturday morning.

Shira was killed in a gunfight at Dobu in East Garo Hills district on Saturday morning.  

Sohan D Shira was believed to be behind the killing of NCP candidate Jonathone N. Sangma

The Meghalaya police on Saturday shot dead Sohan D Shira, the most-wanted leader of a militant outfit allegedly behind the killing of a Nationalist Congress Party candidate a few days ago.

Officials said members of SF10, the State police’s commando unit, killed Shira in an encounter at Dobu in East Garo Hills district around 10.50 a.m.

Shira was the commander-in-chief of the outlawed Garo National Liberation Army (GNLA), the only Meghalaya outfit that has refused to talk truce. He was carrying a ₹10 lakh reward on his head.

“Our force killed Sohan and operations are still on in the area to catch the other members of his group,” Director-General of Police S.B. Singh said.

However, the GNLA was yet to issue a statement confirming Shira’s death.

Mr. Singh said the gunfight began when the rebels fired at the commandos.

The Meghalaya police have sounded a security alert in the Garo Hills. SF-10 commandos continued their combing operations to track down other rebels.

The GNLA is believed to have been behind the killing of NCP candidate Jonathone N. Sangma and three others on February 18. Unknown militants used an improvised explosive device to blow up the SUV Mr. Sangma was travelling in, before firing at the vehicle with automatic weapons. Mr. Sangma was on his way back from campaigning in the Williamnagar Assembly constituency.

Mr. Singh said the police had followed specific intelligence inputs to corner the dreaded militant, who had been running a kidnapping and extortion racket. He was wanted for murders too.

Congratulating the police, Chief Minister Mukul Sangma tweeted that their effort had yielded result. “They have left no stone unturned in dealing effectively with criminals and anti-national elements to ensure heightened peace, which is a prerequisite for growth and prosperity of our State.”

“The committed endeavour of the government to strengthen our internal security apparatus with a zero tolerance policy for militancy has started showing positive results, especially with this latest incident,” he said. “It is now time for all the people from all walks of life to come together and unequivocally pursue the common and shared objective of ensuring the complete restoration of peace in the State and then to maintain it for the kind of development we all envisage and dream of.”

GNLA was set up in 2010 by Pakchara R. Sangma, a police deserter, to fight for carving out a sovereign ‘Garoland’ in the western part of Meghalaya dominated by the Garo tribe.

The outfit took to terrorism soon, supposedly with help from the United Liberation Front of Asom and the National Democratic Front of Boroland, two Assam-based terror groups.

(With inputs from IANS)

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Printable version | Mar 29, 2020 2:36:42 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/militant-chief-behind-meghalaya-candidates-death-killed/article22846234.ece

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