Nagaon/Guwahati, April 11: Peace in Karbi Anglong hung by a thread after a top leader of the militant United People’s Democratic Solidarity (UPDS) was shot dead today by the bodyguard of a Congress executive member of the autonomous district council.
The UPDS, which has a ceasefire with Delhi, described it as a “cold-blooded murder” but stopped short of saying that it would back out of the peace process.
The police and the UPDS gave different versions of the circumstances leading to the death of Thong Teron, “defence secretary” of the militant group, around 1.30 am.
Karbi Anglong superintendent of police Anurag Tankha said the incident occurred when the militant leader accosted Karbi Anglong Autonomous Council executive member Sing Teron at Satgaon Bazaar and threatened to shoot him with his pistol. “The executive member’s PSO (personal security officer) retaliated with his stengun and Thong Teron died on the spot,” he added.
Tong-eh-Nongloda, the UPDS publicity secretary, contradicted Tankha’s version. He said a mob led by Sing Ter-on tried to destroy the Satga-on-based residence of the sla-in militant leader last night. “Thong Teron was not at home at the time. When he reached home, the mob was still there. He was dragged out from his vehicle and shot dead.”
Satgaon is under the Donkamokam police outpost.
UPDS members opened fire on a group of Congress supporters in the same area around 7 am, critically injuring one of them. The injured person was identified as Bikram Sing Timung.
Sporadic violence had marred Assembly elections in the hill district yesterday. Three security personnel ' two BSF and a CRPF jawan ' were injured in attacks by suspected militants and a havildar was kidnapped from near a polling booth.
Additional superintendent of police (headquarters) Debendra Deka said Sing Teron had filed an FIR at the Donkamokam outpost at 9.30 pm yesterday, accusing UPDS members of threatening Congress supporters in Satgaon. A group of 150 to 200 villagers assembled in front of the outpost later and demanded Thong Teron’s arrest on charges of intimidation.
“Sing Teron, too, reached the outpost around 1.30 am to inform the police that his PSO shot dead Thong Teron. We found the body later,” Deka said.
The police had received complaints against the Karbi outfit about militants trying to force villagers to vote for a particular candidate. Tankha said angry villagers demolished Thong Teron’s house.