Not a single policeman was spotted during daytime as one drove 51 km from Tura in western Meghalaya to this hamlet 10 km short of Chokpot police station. Thus, when Jospin M Sangma, 30, was shot on her head from point blank range on Tuesday 6 pm, the police arrived at the scene at around 8.30 pm.
While the police had said in Shillong on Wednesday that the woman was killed when she resisted an attempt to molestation and rape, the FIR in Chokpot police station has no such mention. An oral information given by Ganjak M Sangma, mother of the deceased, on the basis of which the FIR was recorded in English, said that two Garo National Liberation Army (GNLA) militants with AK-47 rifles blamed Jospin to be a “police collaborator”, made her sit down on a chair outside her tea shop and shot her in her head. According to agency report, the GNLA in a statement denied that the woman was molested or raped and said that she was ‘executed’ for being a ‘police informer’.
“I saw two men, both wearing camouflage shorts and black T-shirts. They came and asked my wife whether she was Tanisha’s mother. When she said, ‘yes’, they said, ‘you are a police informer’. She denied, but one of them said, ‘what should we do? Kill you, or spare you?’. The next moment a bullet blew off her head, and the two men disappeared into darkness,” said Abel A Sangma, 32, who along with his wife ran a small shop selling tea, puri and rice at Raja Rongat tri-juncture bus point. “My wife was not a police informer. She has nothing to do with the police or militants. She was innocent. How will I bring up my four children without her?” asked Abel, holding his youngest child, four-year-old Menobarth, in his arms. While Tanisha, the eldest, is 11, Lima is seven and Rosemi is six.
Abel’s children refused to speak about the incident or their mother. They wept silently near her grave in a jungle about 500 m away from their home in village Duragre, four km from here. The family stayed in the tea shop instead of walking half-a-km downhill and another hand-a-km uphill from Duragre to reach the main road, as it’s closer to the missionary school which the children attended. The children have since been shifted to their maternal grandmother’s house — Garos are matrilineal — in Duragre.
“We are yet to ascertain the motive behind killing of the woman,” said A T Sangma, additional SP of South Garo Hills district, who is camping at Chokpot police station to supervise investigations. “The woman was in no way a police informer,” he added.
State Home Minister Roshan Warjri on Thursday assured ‘justice’ to members of the bereaved family. An encounter was underway on Thursday between security forces and Garo militants who killed the woman.