A huge explosion ripped apart an Assam Rifles patrol on Thursday morning at Manipur’s Chandel district , killing three troopers on the spot.
Military sources said the rest of the patrol from F company of 4th Assam Rifles battalion came under heavy fire from underground fighters lined up on either side of the hill road in Khamtai in Chandel district not far from the border with Myanmar.
The casualties could be higher as it was not yet known whether reinforcements have reached the spot.
The Area Domination Patrol (ADP) was ten strong , of whom three were blown apart by the explosion of the improvised explosive device (IED).
Intelligence sources say they suspected the involvement of the Peoples Liberation Army of Manipur.
This rebel group formed in 1975 by Nameirakpam Bisheswar Singh after the demise of the Revolutionary Government of Manipur led by Sudhir Singh, Bisheswar’s one time mentor, sent their first batch of ‘ojhas’ or pioneers for training to China’s Tibet province.
Naga and Mizo rebels have gone to China before the Meitei rebels of PLA but they had trekked through the jungles of Myanmar to reach Yunnan. The PLA ojhas slipped through the Bengal-Nepal border into Tibet , helped by Chinese intelligence officers in their embassy in Kathmandu.
Bisheswar was later captured at Thekcham in Imphal in Nov 1981 and his successor Kunjabehari alias Raghu was killed in a fierce encounter with the army at Kadamkopki in April 1982.
The PLA and the RPF, its political wing, initially called for an ‘Indian revolution by bringing down the bandit government of Delhi’ but later switched to a separatist agenda to secure Manipur’s independence.
In 2002, however, they struck an alliance with Communist Party of India (Maoist) to work for an Indian communist revolution on the assurance of complete independence for Northeastern states that Maoists envisaged would be loosely held together in an Indian confederation.
It is not known whether the PLA now receives any support from China .