Army battles deadliest attack in 33 years

New Delhi: The northeast, generally perceived to be beautiful and calm, on Friday showed a completely different picture altogether. I’m not trying to say it’s all peaceful out there. Are there bandhs, yes, there are. There are minor disruptions of peace occasionally, but the Indian Army realised that all that glitters is not gold.

A horrific attack on Indian Army in Manipur’s Chandel district on Thursday left at least 20 soldiers dead and injured over a dozen.

The attack brought a major blow to the Indian Army in last 33-years. Thursday’s attack is considered as the deadliest one since 1982 when 20 jawans were killed in the state leading to escalation of militancy for years to come.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi condemned the terror attack as “mindless” and “very distressing”. Defence minister Manohar Parrikar, home minister Rajnath Singh, national security advisor (NSA) Ajit Doval and Army chief General Dalbir Singh Suhag went into a huddle to review the situation.

According to the latest updates, an insurgent group NSCN-K has claimed responsibility for this attack.

An immediate outcome was an order given to the Army to launch “all-out search and destroy” operations against militant hideouts in thick jungles along the Indo-Myanmar border as well as the hinterland in Manipur, sources said.

In two ambushes soon after, 11 Army and Assam Rifles jawans were killed in Arunachal Pradesh and Nagaland on April 2 and May 3. Experts fear an uneasy truce in the region, largely the result of ceasefire agreements signed between the Centre and several insurgent outfits over years, seems to be now unravelling.

The newly-floated common platform of United Liberation Front of Western South East Asia — which includes NSCN (K), Ulfa (I), Kamatapur Liberation Organization and NDFB (Songbijit) — claimed responsibility for the attack. Ulfa(I) leader Paresh Baruah called up some local television channels to claim that NSCN(K) chief and front chairman S S Khaplang had ordered the hit.

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