Official sources have confirmed a terrorist attack on the convoy of 46 Assam Rifles in Churachandpur district of Manipur on Saturday. At least seven people have been killed in the attack, including the CO of the unit and his family.

Colonel Viplav Tripathi with his wife Anuja

According to official reports, Commanding Officer of Khuga Battalion of Assam Rifles Colonel Viplav Tripathi visited his Behiang Coy post on Friday, November 12, and stayed there for the night.

Manipur Police said the ambush was reported near Behiang, about 4 km from the Behiang police station, at about 10 am on Saturday.

Col Tripathi’s convoy was targeted at Sehken village in Churachandpur district by suspected militants of PLA (People’s Liberation Army), a militant group in Manipur demanding a separate homeland.

Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) were used by militants in the attack, shattering tenuous peace in Manipur hills, before the Assam Rifles personnel engaged the militants in a firefight.

Col. Tripathi, his wife Anuja, their 6-year-old son Abeer, and three jawans of the convoy were killed in the gunfire. The Assam Rifles identified the other soldiers as rifleman Human Swargiary, rifleman Khatnei Konyak, rifleman RP Meena and rifleman Shyamlal Das.

“In the firefight which followed with the militants (suspected PLA cadres) the Commanding officer and four QRT (quick response team) personnel lost their lives on the spot. The family of the CO (wife and 6 yr-old-son) also lost their lives. The other injured personnel were admitted at Behianga health care center,” an Assam Rifles official said.

Assam Rifles euologised the slain officer who had previously served in Mizoram until his transfer to Manipur in July 2021.

“During his tenure at Mizoram, under his able and energetic leadership, the battalion has been at the forefront in Border management, thwarting illegal smuggling in the IMB and hinterland. Battalion has also recovered several weapons & war-like stores, which could have landed in the hands of anti-national elements thus avoiding major casualties.

“Col Viplav, through his remarkable endeavours, has bonded closely with the locals of Mizoram. The anti-drug campaign conducted by his battalion in January 2021 received several laurels and praise & the awareness was rightfully created by him in the entire state including the remote villages to ensure the youth are guided in the right direction,” the statement said, adding his “goodwill for the society will last an eternity”.

Colonel Viplav Tripathi (far right), Commandant of 46 AR unit of the Indian Army, was killed in a militant ambush in Manipur on Saturday

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, Manipur CM N Biren Singh and others condemned the attack and paid homage to the martyrs through messages of bereavement on social media.

“Strongly condemn the attack on the Assam Rifles convoy in Manipur. 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,” PM Modi tweeted.

Manipur chief minister N Biren Singh also condemned the “cowardly attack” on Twitter.

“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.

Singh later visited one of the injured jawans and tweeted from the hospital. “Visited Shija Hospital to check up on one of the jawans who was badly injured in today’s unfortunate ambush attack. I have directed my officials and hospital authority to provide the best medical care for the jawan. The sacrifice of our jawans will not go in vain,” he wrote.

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh tweeted, “The cowardly attack on an Assam Rifles convoy in Churachandpur, Manipur is extremely painful & condemnable. The nation has lost 5 brave soldiers including CO 46 AR and two family members. My condolences to the bereaved families. The perpetrators will be brought to justice soon.

Assam chief minister Himanta Biswa Sarma tweeted:

West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee tweeted:

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