Nagaon, Nov. 3: Suspected Dimasa rebels struck again in Assam’s North Cachar Hills district today, gunning down a Congress candidate for the district council elections, two of his personal security officers and his driver in an ambush, 16km from Haflong.
One security escort managed to escape the hail of bullets and ran several kilometres to inform police about the incident.
The killing of Congress leader Darbitham Hmar, popularly known as Thoma, comes just a day after the anti-talks faction of the Dima Halam Daogah (DHD) killed seven CRPF personnel in the district.
The ambush makes it amply clear that the Jewel Gorlosa-led faction is out to disrupt the November 26 district council election, which has already been postponed once.
The outfit had killed two senior Congress candidates — the chief executive member of the North Cachar Hills Autonomous Council, Purnendu Langthasa, and a colleague, Nindu Langthasa, — on June 4, just nine days before elections to the council were to be held.
The attack on Hmar took place at 1.15pm when he was returning to Haflong from an election campaign in an interior village of his Lower Kharthong constituency.
NC Hills additional superintendent of police (headquarters) P.K. Kar said over telephone that the rebels attacked the Maruti Gypsy in which Hmar was travelling on a desolate stretch of road near Redjol.
“The rebels fired on the vehicle from both sides of the road. Hmar’s guards retaliated with their service carbines, but they were far outnumbered,” Kar said.
Hmar, constables Kumud Boro and Lalthang Hmar and driver John Hmar fell to the bullets, while Pranil Boro managed to escape and inform the police.
NC Hills superintendent of police Dipak Kedia and deputy commissioner Anil Kumar Borua rushed to the spot after the incident.
Hmar had entered politics in 1991. He was elected as a member of the NC Hills Autonomous Council from Kharthong in 1996.
District Congress sources said party leaders would meet in Guwahati tomorrow to discuss the situation after the killings.
The bodies of six CRPF jawans killed yesterday were sent to their respective states today after their colleagues paid their last respects at the headquarters of the CRPF’s 50 Battalion in Haflong. The seventh jawan hailed from Nagaon.
In another incident, six persons, including two homeguards, were injured when a grenade exploded near a parked bus, which was coming from Nagaland, at Silonijan under Bokajan subdivision of Karbi Anglong district at 6.30pm today.
Bokajan subdivisional police officer, Satyen Gogoi said it was not clear who lobbed the grenade. “It may have been carried by a passenger, since it exploded just near the door of the parked vehicle.”
Amid all the bloodbath, the All Dimasa Students’ Union today called a 36-hour bandh in the proposed Dimaraji, comprising parts of NC Hills, Cachar, Nagaon and Karbi Anglong districts, on November 6 in protest against the slow pace of peace talks with the DHD.