Express News Service
NEW DELHI: The People’s Liberation Army in Manipur, which was behind the recent deadly attack on the convoy of the 46 Assam Rifles, is planning to carry out more such attacks on security forces. According to latest intelligence inputs, the militants are planning to plant IEDs on the routes taken by the security forces.
Well-placed sources in intelligence agencies also told this newspaper that a militant from the Manipur-based outfit was injured in the attack carried out last week and the exact location of the militant is being ascertained by security agencies.
The injured militant was part of the team in the Imphal valley-based Meitei separatist group that laid the ambush. Security agencies believe he may still be in Manipur’s Churachandpur district where the attack took place on November 13.
There is also a possibility that the militant may be somewhere in the adjoining Chin state of Myanmar. Details of his whereabouts are being verified, said a senior intelligence official.
Four personnel of 46 Assam Rifles, other than commanding officer Colonel Viplav Tripathi (41), his wife Anuja (36) and their six-year-old son Abeer were killed in an ambush near Sehkan village in Churachandpur district.
The National Investigation Agency (NIA) is likely to take over the Manipur attack case, the responsibility of which was claimed by the People’s Liberation Army Manipur and another insurgent group called the Manipur Naga People’s Front (MNPF).
Other insurgent outfits, including the People’s Revolutionary Party of Kangleipak (PREPAK), are also suspected to be planning similar attacks on security forces in the near future.
A separate intelligence input indicated that the PLA may target security forces in the run-up to the Assembly elections, particularly those deployed to guard the porous India-Myanmar border, including in Churachandpur, Chandel and Ukhrul.
These militant outfits have in the past timed attacks on security forces to coincide with state elections
The PLA Manipur was founded in September 25, 1978, by N Bisheshwar as a breakaway faction of the United National Liberation Front with the aim of Manipur’s secession from India.
Cadres of the People’s Liberation Army and other splinter groups have continued to remain active over the years and operate mostly out of camps based in Myanmar.
This separatist outfit, along with other Meitei insurgent groups with similar ideologies, has never entered into a ceasefire agreement with the Indian government.
Meanwhile, a massive manhunt mounted on Sunday in the jungles of Churachandpur in Manipur near the border with Myanmar to search for militants responsible for a deadly ambush that killed personnel and family members of the para-military Assam Rifles continued Tuesday.
Two shadowy militant groups – People’s Liberation Army and the Manipur Naga People’s Front – which had been dormant for long had on Saturday jointly claimed responsibility for the attack.
Sanjiv Krishnan Sood, former additional director general of BSF with long years of experience in tackling insurgency in the North East told PTI “it is surprising that these two outfits collaborated with each other and suddenly came alive again. One has to see whether there is a common factor which I suspect could be China behind this.”
In separate dragnet operations, two militants belonging to different proscribed outfits were arrested from urban areas in Manipur’s Thoubal and Imphal East districts on Sunday.
Acting on tip-offs, Assam Rifles personnel along with Manipur Police nabbed a People’s Liberation Army (PLA) militant in Thoubal and a Kangleipak Communist Party (KCP) insurgent in Imphal East district on Sunday.
Officials said these arrests were not related to the attack on Assam Rifles personnel in Churachandpur.
The KCP insurgent was allegedly involved in planting an improvised explosive device (IED) in Khurai in Imphal East on Sunday.
Besides, Col Tripathi, the Commanding Officer of Khuga Battalion of Assam Rifles, his wife Anuja and son Abeer, and Rifleman (Rfn) Shyamal Das, Rfn Suman Swargiary, Rfn RP Meena and Rfn Khatnei Konyak were killed in the deadly atack on the para-military convoy.
(With PTI Inputs)