Manipur Chief Minister N. Biren Singh on Sunday said that to check infiltration from Myanmar and trans-border movement of “inimical elements”, the government is making fencing the state’s border with the neighbouring country a priority.
He said that the Union Home Ministry has already started erection of fencing along the around 400-km-long India-Myanmar border in Manipur, but due to the dispute in some patches, the process was stopped in these areas but it continued elsewhere.
The Chief Minister was talking to the media after paying his tributes at the Imphal airport to Assam Rifles Colonel Viplav Tripathi and four jawans of the paramilitary forces who were killed by People’s Liberation Army (PLA) and Manipur Naga People’s Front (MNPF) militants in the border Churachandpur district. Tripathi’s wife, and their 9-year-old son were also gunned down in the deadliest militant attack.
Terming the PLA and MNPF “terrorists” and strongly condemning the attack, Biren Singh said that he has directed security forces to apprehend the perpetrators and punish them.
“The state government will not compromise with such heinous violence and killing of innocent people. The army, paramilitary, and the state security forces are always alert to foil the militants and any other acts of violence,” he said.
Defence sources said that after the wreath-laying ceremonies, the bodies of Colonel Tripathi and riflemen Suman Swargiary, Khatnei Konyak, R.P. Meena, and Shyamal Das were sent to their respective home states on Sunday.
The PLA and MNPF, in a joint statement on Saturday night, claimed responsibility for the attack, stating that they did not know that the Commanding Officer’s family was also in the convoy.
“In the disturbed area, family and kid should not accompany. Chief of Army of PLA (Irengbam Chaoren) has congratulated the participating cadres in the operations,” said the statement, signed by both the militant outfits’ publicity in-charges.
The incident took place near Sekhen village, as the militants first detonated IEDs and then fired on the convoy of 46 Battalion Assam Rifles, when Col Tripathi, along with his family members, was going to supervise a civic action programme in Churachandpur.
Police and intelligence officials have suspect that the guerillas came from Myanmar and after the attack, went back over the border. For the first time, the militants in the northeast killed the family members of a security force official.
Manipur has over 40 outlawed insurgent groups, a large majority of them lying low following their signing of separate suspension of operations agreements with the government.
In 2015, 20 para-military personnel were killed in an attack by terrorists in Manipur, after which the Army had launched a surgical strike on their camps.