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Former HNLC militant leader killed in police raid

Former HNLC militant leader killed in police raid
File photo of HNLC leader Cheristerfield Thankhiew (right) with Deputy CM Prestone Tynsong in Shillong.
Correspondent SHILLONG, AUG 13 | Publish Date: 8/13/2021 11:31:36 AM IST

Surrendered Hynniewtrep National Liberation Council (HNLC) founding member, Cheristerfield Thangkhiew, suspected to be involved in the recent IED blast in Shillong, died in the wee hours on Friday after a Special Operation Team (SOT) of the Meghalaya Police fired at him in self-defence during a search operation at his house within the city limits.

A combined team of East Jaintia Hills district police and East Khasi Hills district police raided the house of Thangkhiew around 3 am at Mawlai Kynton Massar to arrest him in connection with the recent blasts in the state.

The early morning raid was conducted based on specific inputs that the former HNLC leader was “instrumental” in the IED blast at Khliehriat police reserve in East Jaintia Hills district on July 14 last and in Laitumkhrah market area on Tuesday last where two persons sustained minor injuries.

“During the investigation of these two cases, we found incontrovertible evidence of the involvement of Cheristerfield Thangkhiew, especially in the Khiehriat bomb blast case and we also found his involvement that leads to the Shillong blast case,” Director General of Police, R Chandranathan said at a media meet.

“In connection with the cases registered in East Khasi Hills District and East Jaintia Hills District regarding the IED explosion, thorough investigations were conducted leading to the arrest of several persons. From the statements of these arrested persons and from material evidences collected, there were clear indications linking the involvement of Cherishterfied Thangkhiew in both the criminal cases,” a police statement said.

“Therefore, on the basis of these evidences, an operation was launched by Meghalaya Police in the early morning of the 13th August, 2021, to arrest Cherishterfied Thangkhiew and his associates. However, when the police team tried to enter inside his house, the surrendered cadre attacked the team with a knife as an attempt to escape,” the police said, adding that the police team, “exerting the right to private defence, fired a single round”, which hit him.

“He was immediately rushed to Civil Hospital, Shillong for medical assistance but unfortunately, he succumbed to his injuries,” the police statement said.

“Incriminating evidences have been seized from the residence of the surrendered cadre, including a firearm and a knife, and two more persons have been arrested for their alleged involvement in the cases,” the police informed.

A case has been registered in connection with the incident and the investigation of the case will be supervised by a senior officer to further ascertain the facts and circumstances, Assistant Inspector General of Police (A), GK Iangrai said in a statement.

Thangkhiew, who was the self-styled general secretary of the banned rebel outfit HNLC, had surrendered before Meghalaya Deputy Chief Minister Prestone Tynsong at Police Headquarters, Shillong in October, 2018.

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