20 armymen killed by insurgents in Manipur, government vows to take strong action
New Delhi/Imphal: After the worst attack in two decades on army that took life of 20 soldiers in Manipur, the government vowed to take strong actions against the insurgents.
Home Minister Rajnath Singh, after a high level meeting, said, "Deeply distressed after the news of attack on Army convoy in Manipur. We will not allow the sacrifices of our soldiers to go waste."
Rajnath directed that no militant involved in the attack should be allowed to go scot free and strongest possible action should be taken against all those involved in the ambush.
The meeting, chaired by Rajnath, was also attended by Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar, Army Chief Dalbir Singh and National Security Advisor Ajit Doval.
The Indo-Myanmar border in Manipur has reportedly been closed to stop the militants from fleeing to the neighbouring country.
A team of 6 Dogra Regiment was on a road opening patrol (ROP) as part of its daily routine along Tengnoupal-New Samtal road, about 80 km from Imphal, when it was attacked by an unidentified insurgent outfit first with a powerful Improvised Explosive Device (IED), PTI quoted a police official in Imphal.
After the IED blast, the insurgents resorted to heavy firing at the convoy of four Army vehicles with RPGs and automatic weapons, Army sources said.
The attack occurred at around 9 AM on Thursday when the convoy reached a place between Paralong and Charong villages.
Defence sources said that that this is the worst attack on the Army in nearly two decades.
“Such ambushes were only heard of in Jammu and Kashmir in mid-90s,” the sources said.A reinforcement party of the security forces was rushed to the spot for combing operation to nab the militants. The injured have been airlifted to Dimapur in Nagaland for treatment.
Army and civilian authorities suspect the involvement of Manipur rebel outfit Peoples Liberation Army (PLA) and Kanglei Yawol Kanna Lup (KYKL), a Meitei revolutionary organisation, who used landmines, rocket-propelled grenades and automatic weapons.
“This seems to be the work of PLA, with suspected support by the ‘KYKL' group also. We are still waiting for more inputs to come in,” Manipur Home Secretary J Suresh Babu said. However, Army believes that KYKL is behind the attack.
They said that the area of attack is about 15-20 km away from India-Myanmar border.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi condemned the attack as mindless and very distressing. “Today's mindless attack in Manipur is very distressing. I bow to each and every soldier who has sacrificed his life for the Nation,” he tweeted.
Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar condemned the deadly attack and said that those who have committed this “cowardly act” will be brought to book, a statement by the Defence Ministry said.
Describing the incident as extremely unfortunate, Minister of State for Home Kiren Rijiju said the government has taken up the matter very seriously.
"Some people want to disrupt peace process. I extend my condolences to the families of martyred soldiers," he said.
(With agency inputs)