In a blow to the Assam Police, heavily armed militants killed a superintendent of police and a PSO Thursday. The incident took place close to the Assam-Meghalaya boundary deep inside the jungles of Hamren sub-division in Karbi Anglong district. Police said it could be a combined attack by militants from the Karbi People’s Liberation Tigers (KPLT) and the newly formed United People’s Liberation Front (UPLF).
Nityananda Goswami (58), SP of Hamren, was leading an operation into the Khanduli area Thursday afternoon after receiving inputs about the presence of armed militants there. As he proceeded about 12-13 km beyond Khanduli border outpost and crossed a sparsely populated village, Goswami and his team came under attacked from the militants.
Assam Police Additional Director-General A P Rout said Goswami had split his team into three groups, one led by an additional S P, one by an inspector who was officer-in-charge of Hamren police station, and one by himself. “They moved after receiving specific inputs about the presence of KPLT militants in an area between Khanduli and Makoiram border outposts close to the Meghalaya border,” Rout said.
“They left Hamren at noon, split into three groups around 2 pm and began marching to a specific location from three different directions. Goswami, who was in civil dress, was leading the first group. At one point, they encountered two armed youths and asked them to halt. Suddenly, 15 to 20 youths appeared and started firing on them. Goswami, who had five men with him, was hit with several bullets and fell almost immediately,” Rout said.
The location is so inaccessible that while the incident occurred around 4:30 pm, first information about the incident could be passed on from the Makioram BOP at 10:30 pm Thursday night. By the time news reached the Assam Police headquarters in Guwahati, it was well past midnight.
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While initial reports had named the assailants as members of the KPLT, Rout, on reviewing the situation, Friday said it was the handiwork of the lesser-known UPLF with the support of the KPLT. “It must be a combined attack and a highly organised one,” Rout said.
While Goswami was hit on his legs and hands, his PSO, Ratul Nunisa (35), was hit while trying to protect the SP.
“Goswami was a courageous officer who made the supreme sacrifice by showing exemplary gallantry. His PSO Ratul Nunisa too fought bravely to protect the SP without moving an inch,” Rout said.
The KPLT was formed in January 2011, while the UPLF was formed in the second half of 2013.