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Assam SP dies in rebel battle

Family members of Nitya Nanda Goswami in Guwahati on Friday night. (PTI)

Nagaon, June 6: A superintendent of police known for his courageous battle against militants was gunned down with his security officer last night in the jungles of Assam’s Karbi Anglong district.

A state home department release said Nitya Nanda Goswami, 56, and PSO Ratul Nunisa, 24, had died fighting the Karbi People’s Liberation Tigers at Rongfu, a Tigers stronghold 250km from Guwahati.

Goswami is the third superintendent of police appointed for rebel-hit Hamren, declared a separate police district seven years ago, to be killed by militants.

He was leading a team of 19, including additional superintendent of police Bedanta Borkakaty and Hamren OC Kamal Bora, on a counter-insurgency operation when a large group of militants laid an ambush.

Borkakaty told The Telegraph the police team had split into three groups — two of six members and one of seven — and fanned out in different directions. Goswami, Borkakaty and Bora were in charge of one group each.

“Four policemen in Goswami’s group had to retreat in the face of heavy fire from the militants. We found the bodies of the SP and his security officer this morning when we went back with reinforcements,” Borkakaty said.

He said he had received “a text message from Sir (Goswami) around 8pm”, two hours after the operation started, saying his group had come under attack.

“After that, we lost contact and it became difficult for us to trace them in the darkness,” Borkakaty said.

“Two groups reached Hamren police station around 2am today followed by four policemen from the SP’s team, who told us about the ambush.”

The Hamren police, accompanied by other security forces, launched a hunt early this morning and found the bullet-riddled bodies.

Goswami’s wife and son live in Delhi. His body reached Guwahati late this evening. The funeral is scheduled tomorrow. Nunisa is survived by his parents and brother.

“Despite severe constraints in logistics and infrastructure, Goswami carried on his operations against militants in Hamren very courageously,” a senior police officer said in Diphu, the district headquarters of Karbi Anglong.

“He was behind a series of operations against the Tigers in the troubled subdivision for the past three years.”

The militant outfit, which wants an autonomous state, was formed in January 2011.