Assam Rifles CO, six others killed in militant ambush
Source: The Sangai Express

Imphal / CCpur, November 13 2021: A Commanding Officer of Assam Rifles and four jawans have been killed in a militant ambush together with the CO's wife and a minor son.

At least six other AR personnel sustained injuries.

The deadly ambush took place close to Myanmar border in between Sialsi and Sehken villages under Singhat sub-division of Churchandpur district at around 10.40 am today.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, Governor La Ganesan and Chief Minister N Biren have condemned the attack in the strongest terms.

Sources informed that a convoy of 46 Assam Rifles led by its CO Col Viplav Tripathi was coming back to their Khuga battalion headquarters from their Behiang company post when unidentified militants attacked them with sophisticated weapons.

Colonel Viplav inspected the Behiang post yesterday and put up the night there.

Heavily armed militants first detonated improvised explosive devices before unleashing a volley of fire from automatic rifles upon Col Viplav Tripathi's convoy.

The convoy consisted of one Gypsy (of QRT), two Bolero cars and a 407 mini truck.

Excluding Col Viplav Tripathi's family, sixteen AR personnel were travelling in the convoy.

Col Viplav Tripathi, his wife Anuja Tripathi and their minor son Abeer Tripathi were killed on the spot.

Abeer Tripathi was studying in Class-I at St Paul's Institute, Lamka.

Four personnel of Quick Response Team (QRT) who were travelling with the convoy were also killed in the ambush.

As the AR troops retaliated, a gunfight ensued between the two sides, said the sources.

At least six other AR personnel were also injured in the ambush.

They were first rushed to Behiang Primary Health Centre for first aid.

Three of them were later airlifted by helicopter to Red Shield Hospital, Leimakhong for further treatment.

Two others have been brought to the military hospital of IG AR (South), Mantripukhri while another one is undergoing treatment at Shija Hospital.

The one who is undergoing treatment at Shija Hospital has been identified as Havildar Subir Paul (40) .

He hails from West Bengal.

He sustained injuries on the right hand, leg and face.

It is suspected that the injuries were caused by IED explosion and its impact.

Meanwhile, AR reinforcement and State Police have launched a search operation at the ambush site and surrounding areas.

Strongly condemning the attack, Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted, "...I pay homage to those soldiers and family members who have been martyred today.

Their sacrifice will never be forgotten.

My thoughts are with the bereaved families in this hour of sadness" .

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh remarked that the cowardly attack on the Assam Rifles convoy in Churachandpur, Manipur is extremely painful and condemnable.

Pledging that the perpetrators will be brought to justice, Rajnath conveyed condolences to the bereaved families.

He said that the Nation has lost five brave soldiers including CO 46 AR and two family members.

Governor La Ganesan said that he was deeply shocked to hear the sad news of the killing of the CO along with his wife, son and four other QRT personnel in a militant ambush.

Condemning the dastardly act of the criminals, he conveyed deepest condolences to the bereaved family members.

On the other hand, Chief Minister N Biren visited the injured AR soldier at Shija Hospital.

Later speaking to media persons, N Biren said that it was a cowardly act to kill a Colonel together with his wife and son.

Condemning the attack in the strongest term, the Chief Minister said that a massive search operation has been launched to nab the perpetrators.

He said that the State Government would extend full cooperation to any step taken up by the Centre in connection with the ambush.

To a query, N Biren said that it cannot be ascertained as of now which militant group was responsible for the attack but an investigation is going on.

Notably, 18 personnel of 6th Dogra Regiment were killed and 15 others sustained injuries when a combined team of several militant groups attacked them on June 4, 2015 at Paraolon, Chandel district.

After the Paraolon ambush, Saturday's attack was the deadliest militant attack on army and paramilitary forces on the soil of Manipur.

Several images and footage posted in social media shows the injured personnel airlifted in helicopter and the dead bodies shifted to PHC Behiang from an ambulance by civilians.

Later in the day, two military helicopters were also seen landing on what looks like a playground with Army personnel disembarking even as their engines continue to run.

The Zomi Council while claiming that Col Viplav Tripathi, CO 46 AR was very dear to the Zomi people as he initiated skill development schemes for ZRA cadres in order to transform their lives and bring them back into the mainstream.

He was a devoted officer of the Indian Army who served with humility for the welfare of the people, the council said.

"We are deeply shocked as such acts of violence have been a thing of the past in Zomi areas, particularly after UPF and KNO signed a tripartite SoO with the Government since 2008 .

The Council is appalled to learn that the victims include an innocent woman and a child, who are normally spared even in times of war.

Whatever is the excuse or justification that may be given by the perpetrators of the heinous crime, the council will fail to understand why they choose Zomi area where SoO groups are engaging with the Government for a peaceful political solution, it said.

The violent act is, therefore, not only a challenge to the Government, but an attempt to destroy the hard earned peace and tranquillity in this part of the country,' it added.

The ZCA also said that the cold-blooded incident jeopardized and put at peril the life and security of innocent peace loving Zomi villagers residing in the area.

It shocked the general public who have been eagerly awaiting a final solution of the political negotiations between the Government and the SoO groups.

It appealed to all Zomi chiefs and villagers along the Indo-Myanmar border to cooperate with security forces in their hunt for the perpetrators of the heinous acts, and at the same time request the Government to exert all measures required to apprehend, book and penalize the culprits.

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