Imphal: The Zomi Council HQ and its constituent of nine tribes on Saturday condemned the brutal attack on the Assam Rifles convoy, which led to the killing of five soldiers, including Col Viplav Tripathi, commanding officer of 46 Battalion Assam Rifles. The CO’s his wife and their six-year-old son were also killed in the attack that left four other jawans seriously injured in Manipur’s Churachandpur district.
The incident happened at around 10 am near Sehken Village under Singngat police station, when suspected armed militants ambushed the convoy of 46 Assam Rifles that was returning from Behiang coy post.
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A statement issued by the Zomi Chiefs Association (ZCA) said the Churachandpur district witnessed relative peace, security and development after a long spell of nightmarish militancy due to the relentless efforts of the government and security forces.
“This cold-blooded incident jeopardised and put at peril the life and security of innocent peace-loving Zomi villagers residing in the area. It shocked the general public who eagerly awaits a final solution of the political negotiations between the government and SoO groups,” the ZCA statement said.
A statement issued by the Zomi Council expressed deep shock at the incident, “as such acts of terror have been a thing of the past in Zomi areas, particularly after UPF & KNO signed tripartite SoO with the government since 2008.”
The Zomi council is an apex body of the Zomi tribes, which include Gante, Kom, Mate, Paite, Simte, Tedim Chin, Thangkhal, Zou and Vaiphei. The Zomi identified themselves as descendants of the Zo, the Tibeto-Burman people belonging to the Chin-Kuki language group. They are scattered in Nagaland, Mizoram, Manipur and Assam. There are over 2 lakhs Zomi population in Churachandpur district alone.
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The Council said the martyred CO of 46 AR, Col. Viplav Tripathi, was very dear to the Zomi 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. 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 chose Zomi area where SoO groups are engaging with the Government for a peaceful political solution. The terror 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,” the Council said.
The councils also appealed the government and the army to hunt down the perpetrators of the crime, their allies and co-conspirators if there are any and give befitting punishment immediately.
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We urged the security forces to bring justice to the supreme sacrifices of Col.Viplav Tripathi, his beloved wife and son, and personnel of 46 Bn.Assam Rifles.
We extend our heartfelt condolences to all the bereaved family members, near and dear ones. We also wished quick recovery to all the wounded soldiers, the Council added.
The ZCA has appealed to all Zomi chiefs and villagers residing along the Indo-Myanmar border to cooperate with the security forces in their hunt for perpetrators.
While offering condolences to the martyred soldiers who made supreme sacrifice for the nation, it further added: “ZCA entreats the government of India to exert all measures required to apprehend, book and penalise the culprits as per the law of the land and carry on unhindered, political dialogue with SoO groups in public interest.”
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