Mizoram Police on Friday morning shot dead the HPCD militant believed to have led the ambush on an MLA convoy that killed three policemen at the end of March this year.
H C Malsawmkima (31) alias Danny, a “Sergeant” of the Zosangbera faction of the Manipur-based Hmar People’s Convention Democratic was killed in an encounter around 6 a.m. at Tiaulian village in Manipur’s Churachandpur district, police said.
The hamlet lies on the Manipur side of the inter-state border demarcated by the Tuiruang river.
A police statement said a police team was patrolling the western bank of the Tuiruang river following an intelligence report that HPCD militants were planning to cross into Mizoram.
The patrolling lasted all night when another report specified the HPCD militants were at Tiaulian village. The police team crossed the river to ascertain their presence.
The HPCD militants fled and shot at the police as they ran, the statement said, adding Malsawmkima was killed in the exchange of fire. A Ruger .38 revolver was recovered from his body, it added.
The police team gathered the body and brought it to Sakawrdai town in Mizoram’s Aizawl district. His relatives live in the town. An officer said the body arrived around 3.30 pm.
Malsawmkima was a constable with the Mizoram Armed Police when he decamped with two rifles (an AK-47 rifle and an INSAS) and about 250 rounds of ammunition last June from the MAP’s camp at Sakawrdai to join the HPCD.
He is said to have led the force of a dozen-odd HPCD militants who waylaid a convoy of three Mizoram MLAs touring the state’s northern border regions to ascertain the presence of some development works.
The March 28 ambush killed three policemen, including the Officer-in-Charge of the Sakawrdai police station, and injured six others, including two civilians.
The Mizoram Police had on April 24 announced cash rewards of Rs 2 lakhs each for Malsawmkima and two high-ranking HPCD militants and Rs 1 lakh rewards each for three other cadres it believed were involved in the ambush.
Mizoram Police had stepped up operations against the HPCD since the ambush.
On April 16, a police team arrested the group’s “Army Chief” Lalropuia Famhoite and “Finance Secretary” Norbar Sanate and one alleged cadre near southern Assam’s Silchar town.
The two high-ranking militant leaders have been slapped with at least ten different charges including extortion, criminal intimidation and maliciously using explosives and face up to a decade in jail if convicted.