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Anok Wangshu, a self-styled ‘Major’ of Naga insurgent group NSCN-IM, was held along with arms and ammunition on July 14
Anok Wangshu, a self-styled ‘Major’ of Naga insurgent group NSCN-IM, was held along with arms and ammunition on July 14|EastMojo image
ARUNACHAL PRADESH

MLA Tirong Aboh case: Did Army catch mastermind or just a suspect?

Discrepancies in documents -- FIR & press release -- over recent arrest of NSCN(IM) ‘Major’ Anok Wangshu raise questions on his ‘exact’ role in killing of MLA on May 21

Rishu Kalantri

Tinsukia: Discrepancies in two documents -- first information report (FIR) and press release -- with regard to arrest of National Socialist Council of Nagalim’s (I-M) self-styled Major Anok Wangsa on July 14 have raised questions on the rebel’s “exact” role in the killing of 11 persons, including National People’s Party’s (NPP) MLA Tirong Aboh in Arunachal Pradesh on May 21 -- a charge that has been denied even by the National Investigating Agency (NIA), as per sources.

The federal agency had taken over the probe by registering a case under Section 302, 307 and 34 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and sections 25(1b) (a), 27 of Arms Act and Sections 10, 13 of UAPA Act on June 10 following the state government’s decision to hand over the case to NIA. The original case was registered by Arunachal Police.

Khonsa West MLA Tirong Aboh and 10 others were killed in an ambush by insurgent groups near Bogapani in Arunachal Pradesh’s Tirap district on May 21
Khonsa West MLA Tirong Aboh and 10 others were killed in an ambush by insurgent groups near Bogapani in Arunachal Pradesh’s Tirap district on May 21
File image

The 42-year-old Aboh, MLA representing the Khonsa West constituency, his 20-year-old son Loggem Aboh and party general secretary Wangngoi Hakhun and eight others were killed in an ambush near Bogapani, around 20 km from the Tirap district headquarters of Khonsa in Arunachal Pradesh, after the four-vehicle convoy they were travelling in was stopped and fired upon on May 21.

Serial number 3 (b) of the FIR (a copy accessed by EastMojo) filed by the Army with Namtola police station in Assam’s Charaideo district, a day after his arrest, read: During investigation self-styled major Anok Wangshu has revealed that he was the "mastermind" behind the planning and execution of ambush between Khonsa and Deomali road and killing of MLA Tirong Aboh on May 21, a charge which suggests one of the most heinous killings case in the northeast in recent times has been cracked.

However, a press release issued on July 15, titled “Operation Namsa”, had a diluted version. “The apprehended individual is the deputy of self-styled major general Absolom Tangkhul of NSCN (IM) who is believed to be involved in the killing of MLA Mr Tirong Aboh,” a paragraph from the release reads.

“Based on specific information, a joint operation of Indian Army, Assam Rifles and Assam Police was carried out yesterday, resulting in the apprehension of self-styled Major Anok Wangsa, area commander of NSCN-IM. “The operation was launched in the early hours of July 14, 2019, which involved search of a designated area and laying of ambushes on suspected routes to intercept the movement of the cadre. At around 03:30 AM, one of the teams intercepted a vehicle which was moving on the Namtola – Jampan Axis and immediately identified and apprehended the individual. Search of the vehicle yielded concealed weapons and ammunition,” the press release added.

Posters allegedly released by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) in the sensational killing of Khonsa West MLA Tirong Aboh, his son and nine others by suspected insurgents in Arunachal Pradesh’s Tirap district on May 21
Posters allegedly released by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) in the sensational killing of Khonsa West MLA Tirong Aboh, his son and nine others by suspected insurgents in Arunachal Pradesh’s Tirap district on May 21
EastMojo image

Sources in the NIA told this correspondent, “We do not think Anok Wangshu is involved in the ambush of MLA Aboh as claimed by Army and Assam Rifles. NIA has not arrested him.”

Confirming this, a senior Assam Police official told EastMojo that so far NIA has not applied for the custody of Anok Wangshu, who is currently lodged in Sivasagar Jail.

Officer-in-charge of Namtola police station, Guneshwar Kumar, confirmed the "mastermind" charge in the FIR. “The FIR filed by Army mentions that Anok Wangshu is the mastermind behind planning and execution of the ambush killing MLA Tirong Aboh,” Kumar said, adding, “Anok Wangshu has rejected his hand in the killing.”

The FIR has a mention of a transaction in which Wangshu received Rs 15 lakh extortion money in his Bazaar branch account with the State Bank of India (SBI).

“The branch manager, Peter, is in regular touch with him and manages huge some of extortion in his SBI account,” the FIR read.

Refuting the charges, Peter said, “There are so many customers in the bank, it is not possible to remember each and everyone. I don’t know any person named Anok Wangshu personally as I joined the bank on June 26.”

“No more arrests have been made,” a senior police office privy to the case said. “We have arrested him because he was caught with arms, which remains our primary focus from the investigation point of view,” he added.

Attempts to reach to the Commander of Sector 7 of Assam Rifles, who was present during the press meet at Maibela in Charaideo district after the arrest, turned futile.