Arunachal NPP legislator, son among 11 killed in militant strike

ITANAGAR/GUWAHATI: Suspected NSCN militants on Tuesday gunned down sitting Khonsa West MLA and NPP candidate in the recently-held Arunachal Pradesh assembly elections Tirong Aboh and ten others, including his son and some relatives, besides two security personnel in Tirap district of the state.
Sources said that Aboh, 41, and his family were travelling from upper Assam’s Dibrugarh to Khonsa in a four-vehicle convoy when the ambush was launched near 12th Mile, about 20 kms from Khonsa, on the Khonsa-Deomali Road at around 11.30 am.
Aboh and his younger son Longgem died on the spot.
The sources said Aboh and four other persons died inside the vehicle they were travelling in.
The Director General of Police (DGP) S B K Singh said, “Of the 15 people in the convoy, 11 were killed on the spot, two have been admitted to a hospital with serious injuries and two others, including a woman, escaped unhurt. The bodies have been sent to a district hospital for postmortem,” the DGP said.
Expressing shock and anguish over the attack, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh termed it as an “outrageous attempt” to disturb peace and normalcy in the North East. “The perpetrators of this heinous crime will not be spared. My condolences to the bereaved families,” Singh said in a tweet. His deputy Kiren Rijiju also demanded strongest possible action against those responsible for the dastardly attack.
Condemning the attack, NPP president and Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma sought the intervention of the Prime Minister’s Office and Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh. “The NPP is extremely shocked and saddened by the news of the death of its MLA Shri Tirong Aboh (Arunachal Pradesh) and his family. We condemn the brutal attack and urge @rajnathsingh and @PMOIndia to take action against those responsible for such attack,” Sangma tweeted.
Initial reports suggested that seven people were killed in the attack, but the DGP put the death toll at 11 later in the day. Army units have launched massive combing operations in the area to nab the perpetrators, Singh said, adding DIGP (East), IGP (Law & Order) and senior police officers of Tirap and neighbouring Changlang districts have reached Khonsa to supervise and coordinate with various security agencies for the operations.
The NPP North East Coordination Committee chairman and national vice president of NPP DD Lapang too condemned the attack.
“The attack is a cowardly and merciless act of killing of innocent people.
“I am deeply saddened to hear the unexpected loss of Tirong Aboh. The NPP NECC expresses their heartfelt condolences to the bereaved families and pray to give them strength in these trying times and pray for the eternal repose of the departed soul,” he said in a statement.
Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Pema Khandu said such “barbaric act” is not acceptable. “Extremely shocked by unfortunate incident of killing of Khonsa MLA Tirong Aboh along with several others by insurgents. Strongly condemn this barbarous act. Action will be initiated to hunt down the perpetrators. My heartfelt condolence & may soul of those departed Rest In Peace,” he tweeted.
President of NPP’s state unit Gicho Kabak expressed shock and strongly condemned the attack.
“NPP is extremely shocked and saddened by the news of the unexpected death of its Arunachal NPP MLA Tirong Aboh. NPP strongly condemns the brutal attack and urges both Central and state government to take stern action against those responsible for such dastardly attack,” he said in a statement.
Assam NPP convenor Dilip Borah demanded “strong and purposeful action by both the Central and state governments against the perpetrators of the inhuman act”.
Expressing deep sorrow, he conveyed his heartfelt condolences to the kith and kin of the deceased comrades and prayed for eternal peace of the departed souls.
Meanwhile, the Arunachal Pradesh Congress Committee alleged that the ruling BJP was responsible for the “prevailing lawlessness and chaos” in the state and demanded a judicial inquiry into the incident. “If elected representatives are not safe under the present dispensations at the Centre and the state, how can common people feel secure,” the party said in a statement. “Chief Minister Pema Khandu and his BJP government are solely responsible for lawlessness and all chaos in the state.”
Aboh was elected from the Khonsa West seat in 2014 on a Peoples’ Party of Arunachal (PPA) ticket. Assembly polls were held concurrently with Lok Sabha elections in Arunachal Pradesh.
The NSCN (IM) said it was investigating the matter and pointing fingers at the organisation was “distasteful.”
“We condemn such a dastardly act committed upon innocent civilians. Our prayers are with the bereaved family,” the NSCN (IM) said in a statement. (With PTI inputs)

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