One injured, six of new militant group nabbed in Assam
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Tinsukia: An Assam Rifles (AR) patrol team was targeted early on Tuesday morning by suspected militants in Arunachal Pradesh along the Indo-Myanmar international border.

A Junior Commissioned Officer (JCO) was reportedly injured in the ambush that was followed by an exchange of fire between the militants and the security forces at Pangsau Pass, across border pillar 173 at the Indo-Myanmar border, in Arunachal’s Changlang district. 

“There were reports of gunshots during the wee hours of the morning at Pangsau Pass. We cannot confirm about underground outfits as of now as police team are yet to return,” Superintendent of Changlang police Mihin Gambo said.

The suspected militants soon fled from the spot after carrying out the attack. Troopers of the AR immediately launched a massive combing operation in the area to nab the culprits.

The development comes amid heightened threat perception and tight security arrangements in Tinsukia and Dibrugarh districts over reports of militant groups planning to sabotage Independence Day celebrations. 

“Assam Rifles troops were undertaking enhanced patrolling activities in view of heightened vigil for the forthcoming Independence Day. One JCO sustained minor injury in hand. No injury or any other damage reported,” a statement issued by Lt. Colonel A.S. Walia, PRO Defence, Tezpur, said.

Sources said the incident took place at about 4.44 am when a joint group of NSCN (K-YA) and ULFA (I) militants ambushed the 19 Assam Rifles team.

“The incident was followed by heavy exchange of gunshots from both sides… It took place a couple of hundred metres from the Assam Rifles camp and near international trade market.”

A senior Assam Rifles official, on the condition of anonymity, said the team spotted a group of militants during their early morning patrol, which led to an exchange of fire.

“The militants opened fire and launched a few shots of the Lathode gun, during which a JCO sustained splinter injury on his hand.”

The Tirap, Longding and Changlang districts of Arunachal Pradesh are still under the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (AFSPA). These districts, which share porous borders with Myanmar, have been used as a transit route by various militant outfits of the region over the past several years.

After a flush out from Bhutan and Bangladesh, these militant organisations have set up camps on the soil of Myanmar, and often sneak into India to carry out their subversive activities.

The United Liberation Front of Asom-Independent (ULFA-I) has also called for a boycott of this year’s Independence Day celebrations. The banned outfit, in a joint statement with the NSCN-KYA on Saturday, asked the people in Assam, Nagaland, Manipur, Tripura and Meghalaya to not participate in any activities related to the celebrations.

After the boycott call, there was every likelihood that the cadres of these banned outfits would try to sneak into India from their hideouts in Myanmar to disrupt the Independence Day celebrations.

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