An Assam Rifles Colonel, his wife and child as well as four of his colleagues were killed in a massive ambush staged by unidentified terrorists in the Thinghat area in Manipur on Saturday morning.
The insurgents ambushed a convoy of Assam Rifles around 11 am leading to the mass killing of the five Assam Rifles personnel, including the Colonel and his family, said an official statement of DG Assam Rifles.
"Five soldiers including Col Viplav Tripathi Commanding Officer of 46 Assam Rifles have made the supreme sacrifice in the line of duty," mentioned the statement.
The family of the Commanding Officer, wife and child also lost their lives in the incident, said the statement.
The Director General and all ranks of Assam Rifles offered condolences to the brave soldiers and families of the deceased, the statement added.
Police said the incident took place near Sehken village as the heavily armed militants fired upon the convoy of the Assam Rifles Colonel killing him, his wife, their son and three Quick Reaction Team jawans on the spot.
Militants attacked the convoy when the Colonel of the 46 Battalion of the Assam Rifles was going to supervise a civic action programme in the Churachandpur, bordering Myanmar.
This is for the first time that the militants in the northeast killed the family members of a security force official.
Though no militant organisation has claimed responsibility for the attack so far, the police and the intelligence officials suspect PLA (People’s Liberation Army) cadres to be behind the heinous act.
All you need to know about the People’s Liberation Army:
The People’s Liberation Army (PLA) was established under the leadership of N Bisheswar Singh on September 25, 1978. The objective of the outfit was to “liberate” Manipur and demand “separation” from India.
Since its foundation, the PLA has been waging a guerrilla-based warfare against the Indian Armed Forces and has targeted the Indian Army, Indian Paramilitary Forces and the State Police Force. However, during the late nineties, it reportedly declared a unilateral decision not to target the Manipur Police.
According to the information provided by the Indian Army, PLA’s political wing Revolutionary People’s Front (RPF) was set up on 25 February 1979. Soon after its establishment insurgency emerged in a big way and the Manipur Government declared the entire Valley a disturbed area and Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, 1958, was imposed on the Valley in September 1980.
Later, RPF suffered a major set back soon after its formation when its chief N Bisheswar Singh was captured and seven other leaders were killed by the Indian Army in an operation in Tekcham, Thoubal district on July 6, 1981.
On October 26, 1981, RPF along with People's Revolutionary Party of Kangleipak (PREPAK) and Kangleipak Communist Party (KCP) were declared unlawful organisations.
According to the South Asia Terrorism Portal (SATP), the RPF runs a government-in-exile in Bangladesh. Reportedly, Irengbam Chaoren is the ‘President’ of the RPF. It has a Vice President, a General Secretary, Secretaries in charge of Home, Finance, Foreign Affairs, Publicity and Communication, Social Welfare, Health and Education.
The insurgent group now comprises four divisions – Sadar Hill West areas of the Valley of Manipur, Sadar Hill areas in the eastern Valley, the entire hill areas in Manipur and the entire Imphal area. Each division has a commander, lieutenants, sergeant and lance corporals in its ranks. The cadres, meanwhile, are equipped with sophisticated arms.
Reportedly, the PLA has set up a number of bases in Bangladesh's Sylhet district. Two camps in Myanmar and five camps in Bangladesh are currently known to exist, where about 1,000 recruits have received arms training, the SATP report said.