Nagaon, June 4: Congress leader G.C. Langthasa lost a second son to bullets when militants shot dead Purnendu Langthasa, the chief executive member of the North Cachar Hills Autonomous District Council, and his colleague Nindu Langthasa under doubtful circumstances.
Militants of the Jewel Gorlosa faction of the Dima Halam Daogah (DHD) killed the duo in the remote Dimasa settlement of Langlai Hasnu, 65 km from the district headquarters town of Haflong, around 1.30 pm today.
Purnendu was the eldest son of G.C. Langthasa, a former minister and sitting Congress MLA from Haflong. Sibling Narmendu died a similar death at the hands of another outfit, the Hmar People’s Conference (Democratic), in Haflong town on May 13, 2003.
The youngest of the brothers, Nirmal, also had his share of trouble with militants. Ulfa kidnapped the youth from Karbi Anglong in April 2004, but released him unharmed a few days later.
A senior official in the North Cachar Hills administration said Purnendu and Nindu were scheduled to visit only Dehangi, close to Umrangsu town, to campaign for the June 12 elections to the Congress-ruled autonomous council. He said they might have been taken to Langlai Hasnu at gunpoint and shot.
Purnendu was seeking re-election from Mahur constituency, where he won in 2001 and went on to become the chief executive member of the ninth North Cachar Hills Autonomous District Council.
The other victim was an equally seasoned politician. Nindu, 50, represented Haflong in the district council for three consecutive terms and was confident of a fourth when the run-in with militants ended his life.
Chief minister Tarun Gogoi described the killings as another “act of cowardice” by militants. “Such senseless killings will not solve any problem,” he said.
Gogoi asked the police and the district administration to take appropriate measures to deal with the situation in the North Cachar Hills.
Governor Ajai Singh summoned the chief minister to Raj Bhavan for a briefing. He will visit Haflong tomorrow, official sources said.
Reports from North Cachar Hills said Congress workers had almost abandoned the election campaign. As news of Purnendu and Nindu’s death spread, terrified Congress workers called off meetings halfway and scurried back to the safety of their homes.
Hours before the Congress duo’s murder, militants of the DHD (J) shot two civilians near a Congress office in Maibong town. One of the casualties was 45-year-old ASEB employee Jamulal Thausan.
Sources said the DHD (J) may have mistaken the two for Congress workers.
The renegade Dimasa militant group, which broke away from the Dilip Nunisa-led DHD after the start of a peace process, has been targeting Congress workers and candidates since campaigning began on May 27. North Cachar Hills police confirmed the threats, but said “all possible” security arrangements had been made for all poll candidates.