Nitya Nanda Goswami, the Superintendent of Police (SP) who lost his life while leading an operation against a militant group in Karbi Anglong on Thursday night, could not be traced for more than 12 hours until several search parties comprising CRPF jawans and Assam Police commandos found his body under debris and mud in the jungle the next morning. Goswami was found wearing a traditional Karbi rikong (loincloth) and choi-aan (jacket), suggesting that he was in disguise.
While Goswami went missing around 8 pm, P C Saloi, DIG (Central Range) came to know about it at 9.20 pm.
Saloi passed on the information to Additional DGP A P Rout, following which the Army and the CRPF were alerted.
The police headquarters in Guwahati moved the Army to provide a chopper as early as possible on Friday morning in order to help with the search operations.
Goswami and PSO Ratul Nunisa’s bullet-riddled bodies were finally found at 9 am of Friday.
The militants, believed to be between 15 and 20, had escaped by then.
According to the police, Goswami as well as the other men had gone out in disguise. “They had put on traditional Karbi tribal clothes over shorts and T-shirts. Goswami was a very sharp officer who served in different posts in Karbi Anglong and had immense knowledge about militant groups,” said Rout said.
Goswami, SP of Hamren, had gone out around 5 pm Thursday with 20 men on an operation.
Subsequently, they split into three groups, with Goswami taking five men with him.
When Goswami’s party accosted two militants and asked them to halt, 15 to 20 armed militants appeared and attacked them.
As Goswami and Nunisa retaliated, four commandos from his group allegedly escaped in the darkness.
The four were placed under suspension on Saturday. Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi has ordered a high-level inquiry into the incident.
Meanwhile, the two other groups, led by SP Bedanta Borkakati and Hamren police station officer-in-charge Kamal Bora, reached the Makoiram BOP almost simultaneously. That’s when Borkakati saw a text message on his mobile from Goswami that he was under attack.
The message was 20 minutes old, and the Assam Police believe the SP must have been killed around the same time.
“I got a call from Borkakati at 9:20 pm on Thursday saying the SP was missing. Borkakati also told me he tried calling the SP, but there was no response,” Saloi said Saturday.
“When the two bodies were finally found out on Friday, they had to be carried by jawans to the nearest roadhead near Rongphu village, from where they were brought to Hamren by road,” Saloi added.
Born in 1955, Goswami, a Commerce graduate, was selected for the Assam Police Service in 1993.
He had taken over as SP of Hamren police district in February 2012.