Meghalaya police on Friday confirmed death of the dreaded 54-year-old militant Chesterfield Thangkhiew, in an encounter with the police in Meghalaya's East Khasi Hills district in the early hours of Friday.
According to the officials, his home was raided in connection with a series of blasts across the state recently.
The deceased was the former general secretary of the banned Hynniewtrep National Liberation Council (HNLC), who had surrendered before Deputy Chief Minister Prestone Tynsong in 2018.
A police team raided Thangkhiew's Kynton Massar residence in Mawlai in connection with the recent IED attacks in the state, Director-General of Police R Chandranathan told PTI.
"He (Thangkhiew) was wanted in the IED attack in Khliehriat. We have evidence. A police team raided his house early today. On entering the house, he wielded a knife and attacked one of our constables who fired a retaliatory shot," he said.
Thangkhiew was taken to the Civil Hospital where he was declared brought dead, the officer added.
Two of his associates were taken into custody for interrogation and the police seized a firearm, digital documents in his laptop and mobile phones, Chandranathan said.
The HNLC has already taken the responsibility of the IED blast behind a crowded market in the Shillong on Tuesday in which two persons were injured.
Last month, a high-intensity IED went off at a police barrack in Khliehriat, injuring one police personnel and damaging buildings.
Three persons were arrested in connection with that blast and two of them gave evidence of Thangkhiew's direct involvement in the attack, an official working on the case told PTI.
Thangkhiew is suspected to be the mastermind of the sporadic IED attacks across the state since his surrender, officials said.
Thangkhiew had made Bangladesh his home after fleeing the country in 2004. A founding member of the militant group, he was in the post of its general secretary till his surrender in 2018.
Thangkhiew was also a founding member of the erstwhile Hynniewtrep Achik Liberation Council (HALC), the first armed organisation in the state in 1987. The HNLC was formed in 1997 and subsequently declared banned by the Union Home Ministry.
(With PTI Inputs)