National Investigation Agency (NIA) will be probing the ambush attack on the army personnel in Manipur. On Saturday morning the Union Home Ministry handed over the probe to the premier central agency. 18 army personnel of 6 Dogra regiment were killed and more than 10 jawans were injured when their convoy was ambushed by the suspected militants on the Thursday morning. The attack has been described as the severest one on the army men since 1999 Kargil war.
The Central government has chalked out tough action against the groups and the outfit responsible for the attack. Home Minister Rajnath Singh had already said that the “strongest possible action” will be taken and those responsible for the attack will not be allowed to go scot free.
Earlier on Friday, the Chief of Army Staff Dalbir Singh had inspected the site of ambush in Chandel district in Manipur. The search operations to track down the insurgent were ordered soon after the incident. The top General had held a short discussion with the army officers and the contingent of Assam Riffles who are a part of search operations.
Meanwhile, the bodies of deceased jawans were sent to their respective homes after they were accorded with the state honours. Most of the personnel belonged to Jammu and Himachal Pradesh.
Earlier, condemning the dastardly attack, the Prime Minister expressed his shock at the incident.
“Today’s mindless attack in Manipur is very distressing. I bow to each and every soldier who has sacrificed his life for the Nation,” Prime Minister Modi had tweeted.
The Centre has also decided to put all installations of security and defence forces in the region on a high alert after the incident. The Indo-Myanmar border in Manipur’s Chandel district and adjoining areas too have been sealed apprehending that the milatants responsible for ambush may take this route to flee outside the Indian territory.
The attack took place barely a week after the state government of Tripura had recommended lifting of contentious AFSPA after 18 years. The attack is certain to spark another debate on AFSPA as some areas in Manipur too are under the controversial law giving immunity to the defence personnel.
Incidentally, the state government of Manipur too have been mulling to ease AFSPA in Chandel and the adjoining Churchandpur district.
According to the probe so far, the convoy carrying the army personnel in four trucks was attacked on a stretch between the Paralong and Charong villages in Chandel, around 80 kilometres away from state capital Imphal. Army officials claim that the ambush was laid by militants using rocket-propelled grenades (RPG) and automatic weapons.
The ambush was triggered after an IED blast stirred the convoy followed by the militants resorting to heavy firing at the army personnel. A suspected insurgent was also killed as the army retaliated to the heavy firing, the local police told.