Meghalaya’s most wanted terrorist Sohan D Shira who headed the Garo National Liberation Army (GNLA) was shot dead on Saturday by Meghalaya police commandos in an encounter at Achakpek near Dobu in East Garo Hills district.
The GNLA is suspected to have carried out a bomb attack on February 18 in which NCP candidate for the Willimanagar assembly constituency Jonathone N Sangma and four others were killed in the Samanda area of East Garo Hills district .
Responding swiftly to intelligence inputs, the Special Force 10 (SF-10) team led by commandant J.F.K. Marak tracked down Shira at Achakpek, 110 kilometers from Tura, the main town of Garo Hills.
Policemen familiar with the raid said Shira initially outwitted the commandos and tried to escape but was finally shot after a long pursuit. Shira who was in his 40s, carried a bounty of Rs 10 lakh on his head.
Confirming the death of the GNLA founder, deputy IGP (Western Range) Onimus Pasi said, “Yes it’s true. He is dead after a challenging encounter. More personnel are being rushed to the spot. I’ve been informed that the encounter is still going on and the exact number of fatalities is yet to be ascertained.”
Shira was a former area commander of the Achik National Volunteers Council (ANVC), which later signed a peace pact with both the state and central governments. In 2007 he surrendered before the then chief minister DD Lapang.
But two years later he went back to the jungle alleging that he had been given a raw deal. He formed the Garo National Liberation Army along with deserter deputy superintendent of police and chairman of the outfit Pachkara R. Sangma a.k.a. Champion R. Sangma.
Shira who was facing numerous charges of murder, extortion and kidnapping among other heinous crimes had escaped security dragnets many times in the past.