Assam Rifles Colonel, wife & son among 7 killed in militant attack in Manipur

The incident occurred in Churachandpur district, close to the Myanmar border. No militant organisation has claimed responsibility for the attack so far

Colonel Viplav Tripathy, his wife and eight-year-old son were killed in the terrorist attack

In one of the deadliest attack in the region in recent times, an Assam Rifles Colonel, his wife and eight-year-old son, and four soldiers were killed in an ambush by terrorists near the border with Myanmar in Manipur. The terrorist attack took place at 10 am in Manipur’s Churachandpur district on Saturday (November 13), sources have said.

“Their sacrifices will never be forgotten,” said Prime Minister Narendra Modi while strongly condemning the attack.

The Commanding Officer of 46 Assam Rifles, Colonel Viplav Tripathy, had gone to a forward camp on Saturday and was returning when his convoy was ambushed, sources said. There were seven people, including Tripathy’s wife and eight-year-old son, and four soldiers who were killed. The incident occurred in Churachandpur district, close to the Myanmar border, said an NDTV report.

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The Assam Rifles, which issued a statement said that five soldiers including Colonel Viplav Tripathi, Commanding Officer of 46 Assam Rifles, have made the supreme sacrifice in the line of duty. “The family of the Commanding Officer – wife and child – also lost their lives. DG and all ranks of Assam Rifles offer condolences to the brave soldiers and families.”

A PTI report claimed that Tripathi’s convoy was targeted at Sehkan village in Churachandpur district by suspected militants of the People’s Revolutionary Party of Kangleipak (PREPAK), a militant group in Manipur demanding a separate homeland. Improvised Explosive Devices (IED) burst, shattering tenuous peace in Manipur hills, before the Assam Rifles personnel engaged the militants in a firefight. In the firefight that ensued the Colonel, his family members and others lost their lives on the spot.

“Strongly condemn the cowardly attack on a convoy of 46 AR which has reportedly killed few personnel including the CO & his family at CCpur today. The State forces & Para military are already on their job to track down the militants. The perpetrators will be brought to justice,” Singh wrote on Twitter.

Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh also condemned the attacks and tweeted, “The cowardly attack on an Assam Rifles convoy in Churachandpur, Manipur is extremely painful & condemnable. The nation has lost five brave soldiers, including CO 46 AR and two family members. My condolences to the bereaved families. The perpetrators will be brought to justice soon.”

Colonel Tripathi had previously served in Mizoram till July 2021 and later he moved to Khuga, Churachandpur District, Manipur to border management to prevent illegal smuggling on the India-Myanmar border and the hinterland. According to a New Indian Express report, under the command of Colonel Tripathi, the battalion had succeeded in recovering several weapons which could have landed in the hands of anti-national elements thus avoiding major casualties.

The Assam Rifles said, “The anti-drug campaign conducted by the Khuga battalion in January 2021 received several laurels and praise.” Apart from the awareness campaign, the battalion was also running a campaign for the youth of Manipur with a focus on those in remote villages.

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi slammed the BJP-led government at the Centre over the attack. “The terrorist attack on the army convoy in Manipur once again proves that the Modi government is not capable of protecting the nation. My condolences to the those killed in action and condolences to their families. The nation will remember your sacrifice,” he said in a tweet in Hindi.

The Assam Rifles is a paramilitary force that operates under the Army’s control and is used mainly for counter-insurgency operations in the northeast. Like many other north-east states Manipur too has a number of insurgent groups either demanding greater autonomy or secession. The Assam Rifles is brought in and acts as an interventionist force of the central government for internal security when the situation goes beyond the control of central paramilitary operations.

In 2015, 20 soldiers were killed in an attack by terrorists in Manipur, after which the Army launched a surgical strike on their camp.

 

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