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Meghalaya elections: NCP candidate Jonathone N Sangma killed in IED blast, say reports

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    Shillong, Feb 19: Violence hit poll-bound Meghalaya on Sunday, as reports indicated that Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) candidate Jonathone N Sangma was killed in an improvised explosive device (IED) blast at Samanda in the state's East Garo Hills district.

    In the same blast, two other men accompanying the 43-year-old deceased politician were also killed, added reports.

    Jonathone N Sangma

    The Meghalaya Assembly elections are scheduled on February 27 and the violent incident has shocked the entire northeast region.

    Incumbent Meghalaya chief minister Mukul Sangma condoled the NCP politician's death, however, the state's top police brass is yet to confirm the death of Sangma.

    DGP SB Singh told The Indian Express that there was no confirmation that the candidate had died. "Yes, there has been a blast near Williamnagar. But we have no confirmation of the death of any candidate so far," DGP Singh said.

    NCP candidate Sangma was reportedly killed on Sunday evening around 8 pm after terrorists attacked his convoy in Meghalaya's East Garo Hills district, officials were quoted as saying by PTI.

    "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," tweeted Meghalaya CM.

    "This desperate act will not be tolerated. The perpetrators of the crime will be apprehended expeditiously and brought to book," the CM added.

    The 43-year-old NCP candidate was returning after campaigning and was on his way to Williamnagar, his assembly constituency, when the convoy came under attack, reports added.

    "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," said Vincent Pala, working president of Meghalaya Congress Unit, and Lok Sabha MP from Shillong.

    The Garo National Liberation Army, a proscribed terrorist outfit active in the state's South and East Garo Hills district, was campaigning against Jonathone Sangma.

    In the 2013 elections also Jonathone Sangma had received death threats and was provided extra security based on the threat perception, a police officer said.

    Along with Nagaland, the Assembly elections for the 60-member House in Meghalaya are slated to be held on February 27. On Sunday, Tripura voted for the Assembly elections. The results of all the three Assembly elections will be declared on March 3.

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