Manipur CM Okram Ibobi Singh escapes unhurt as militants open fire

The CM's helicopter immediately took off and left for Chingai but could not land at the remote village due to protests, the official said.

Written by Esha Roy | Imphal | Updated: October 25, 2016 3:57 am
Manipur Chief Minister Ibobi Singh Manipur Chief Minister Ibobi Singh

Manipur Chief Minister Okram Ibobi Singh escaped unhurt when unknown assailants opened fire as he was alighting from his helicopter in Ukhrul district on Monday morning. The incident took place at 10.30 this morning.

A jawan of the Manipur Rifles was injured in the firing. While government officials said that the involvement of the banned insurgent group, the NSCN (IM) could not be ruled out, the NSCN(IM) has so far denied being involved in the ambush. No other group has claimed responsibility for the attack either.

The attack on Ibobi came a day after he had said that the law and order situation in the state has improved and that insurgency was at an ebb.

After the ambush the chief minister’s helicopter immediately took off and left for Chingai but could not land at the remote village due to
protests. “Soon after the Chief Minister landed in Ukhrul, mobs came out and started burning tyres on the road. There was a fair amount of stone pelting as well,’’said a government official.

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Ukhrul, in Tangkhul Naga district, is controlled largely by the NSCN (IM) and has been disgruntled with the Manipur Chief Minister for years now, calling him anti-tribal. As Ibobi’s plans to visit Ukhrul came to light, Tangkhul Naga Long, a civil organization, called for the boycott of Ibobi’s visit. The TNL issued a statement saying that Ibobi’s visit was unwelcome as the hospital which he was coming to inaugurate had not even been completed by the state government.

As a part of his elections run, Ibobi had several programmes at Hunphung village and Chingai village in the district. The 100 bedded district hospital is located in Hunphung and the Nagas had called for a road blockade to the hospital as well. Two vehicles on the route had been reportedly set ablaze.

Last night, two persons, suspected to be from NSCN (IM), hurled handgrenades in Hundung area of Ukhrul injuring one jawan of the 4 Indian Resserve Battalion (IRB). The 4 IRB had been deployed for the past week specifically to sanitise the area ahead of the chief minister’s visit. Two bombs were also fired at the hospital, purportedly from a rocket launcher on Sunday night.