Nationalist Congress Party candidate Jonathone N Sangma was killed on Sunday night, days before he was scheduled to contest the elections in Meghalaya. The 43-year-old leader, from Williamnagar constituency, was killed in an IED blast at Samanda in East Garo Hills district.
Two others accompanying him also died in the attack. The leader was on his way to his constituency after campaigning, when the convoy came under attack. According to a report in PTI, the Garo National Liberation Army, a rebel outfit group operating in the state’s South and East Garo Hills district was campaigning against Jonathone.
Reports also suggest that posters were put up in multiple places in the constituency threatening to kill anyone who supported or voted for Jonathone N Sangma. Jonathone had faced similar threats during the 2013 elections. He was also provided extra security after death threats were issued against him, reports PTI. Sangma had contested the 2013 polls as an independent candidate and had recently joined the NCP. He, however, lost to Congress’ leader Deborah C Marak in 2013. Incidentally, he had also filed a case against Marak for instigating Garo National Liberation Army against him during the 2013 polls.
Condemning his death, CM Mukul Sangma said that ‘desperate act will not be tolerated.’ Taking to Twitter, he wrote, “Deeply saddened to hear about the unexpected loss of Jonathone N Sangma. My heartfelt condolences to his near and dear ones. The blood of innocents spilled by the enemies of the state will not disturb peace in Meghalaya. This desperate act will not be tolerated. The perpetrators of the crime will be apprehended expeditiously and brought to book.”
This desperate act will not be tolerated. The perpetrators of the crime will be apprehended expeditiously and brought to book.
— Mukul Sangma (@mukulsangma) February 18, 2018
Vincent Pala, the working president of Meghalaya Congress Unit, and Lok Sabha MP from Shillong said, “We strongly condemn the incident and we stand by Jonathone’s family at this moment. These incidents shouldn’t take place in a state like Meghalaya,” reported PTI.
NCP’s Conrad Sangma in a Facebook post condemned the attack calling it an “assault on democracy and freedom of the people of Meghalaya.” “It was with shock and disbelief that I learned the passing away of my friend Jonathone N Sangma and three others who lost their life in a militant attack. I condemn this cowardly and merciless act of killing of innocent people! The attack is an assault on democracy and freedom of the people of Meghalaya. We will not be cowed down by fear and intimidation and we promise that we will not let their sacrifice go in vain. We resolve to continue the fight against violence of all forms and work for peace and development to lift our state from the bondage of fear and oppression. May their soul be at peace with our heavenly father. We pray that God’s grace be with their near and dear ones at this time of darkness and grief,” he wrote.