Col, kin among 7 killed in Manipur ambush near Myanmar border; India vows strong response

Tripathi’s unit, 46 Assam Rifles, had disrupted several drug trafficking rings in the area and may have been targeted by the insurgents because of its successes in curbing the illegal money-spinning trade, HT has learnt. The aftershocks of the hit were felt in New Delhi with the government vowing strong and swift action against the insurgents.

Armed militants on Saturday ambushed an Assam Rifles convoy near the porous India-Myanmar border in Manipur’s Churachandpur district; killing five soldiers including a colonel, his wife, their eight-year-old son, and injuring six personnel of whom four are critical and battling for their lives at a medical facility in the state, people familiar with the developments said.

The commanding officer of the 46 Assam Rifles, Colonel Viplav Tripathi, and his quick reaction team (QRT) were returning from the Behiang border post and heading to the battalion headquarters at Khuga when the militants ambushed them at S Sehken village under Singhat sub-division at around 11 am, said one of the officials cited above.

Apart from Tripathi, his wife Anuja and son Abeer; Riflemen NK Nayak, Suman Swargiary, RP Meena and Shyamal Das were killed in the pre-planned attack. Family members of soldiers being hit by insurgents is a rarity and has sent shock waves through the military community. In May 2002, terrorists killed 31 people at an army base in Jammu and Kashmir’s Kaluchak area. The casualties were three soldiers, 18 family members (including a two-month-old baby girl) and 10 civilians. The 47 wounded were 12 soldiers, 20 family members and 15 civilians.