New Delhi: Manipur state government has dispatched its own state commandos and mega search-and-comb team to assist Assam Rifles to hunt down the perpetrators of Saturday’s ambush attack that killed a 44-year-old Colonel, his wife eight-year-old son, and four soldiers near the border with Myanmar.
CM Biren Singh shared the details while speaking exclusively to The New Indian’s executive editor Rohan Dua after a long day during which he went into a huddle with officials and medical team at hospital where injured soldiers. Also Read: Colonel, Wife & 8-Year-Old Son Among 7 Killed In A Cowardly Militant Attack in Manipur
“This type of an incident is taking after a long time in Manipur. I strongly condemn this. I have put behind my police commandos to help boost Assam Rifles. A massive search, combing operation and raids are being conducted,” Singh told the TNI.
The chief minister blamed the 390-km porous forest border with Myanmar that gives an advantage to terrorists, who led the cowardly attack by firing upon the convoy of Assam Rifles Colonel Viplav Tripathi, killing him, his wife Anuja, their 8-year-old son Abeer, three Quick Reaction Team (QRT) jawans and the driver on the spot.
“Those behind the attack are terrorists, not any insurgents. They belong to the Valley region of Manipur. They are likely from the People’s Liberation Army,” he pointed out.
He also said that early inputs have suggested that the attackers used IEDS and bombs while ambushing the convoy “like cowards”.
He, however, lashed out at Congress Wayanad MP Rahul Gandhi, saying it was unfortunate that he was out of country and should have put up a united face against terror.
“Rahul Gandhi speaks what he likes, not being aware of ground reality,” the CM took direct potshots at the former Congress president.
“Has Rahul Gandhi lost track of the terror incidents that took place during Congress regime those 15-40 years. I call them senseless people. When jawans have been martyred, he is making loose comments on whether nation is safe or not. Instead of giving support to Centre, para forces, or Army, he is lowering the morale of our forces,” Singh asked.
The CM said that this tragic incident had happened only after nearly four years of a peaceful tenure he has had as the state head.
Manipur goes to state polls in 2022 early next year.
It is not clear if Assam rifles’ drug bust and anti-drugs drive is the possible reason behind ambush. Singh said he wouldnt want to jump into a conclusion till the probe is over.
He, however, maintained that his state would continue to fight drug scourge. Earlier, hours before the incident, Singh had tweeted,” A combined team of Manipur Police, Assam Rifles along with Executive Magistrate & Forest officials destroyed 15 acres of illegal poppy cultivation at Joujang village, CCPur”.
On Saturday, the statement from Assam Rifles had said, “The following firefight with suspected militants of the People’s Revolutionary Party of Kangleipak (PREPAK)/People’s Liberation Army (PLA) cadre, the CO, his wife and six-year-old son and four QRT personnel lost their lives on the spot. The other injured personnel are receiving treatment at the Behianga health care centre”.