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Mnp MLA hurt; six cops, 1 civilian killed

Locals of Riha helping cops in transporting bodies of suspected armed cadres of NSCN (I-M) who had reportedly laid ambush on local MLA Wungnaoshung Keishing at Riha in Ukhrul district on Friday. Cops inspecting a Gypsy damaged in the ambush. (EP)
Correspondent IMPHAL, APR 15:
Published on 16 Apr. 2011 12:14 AM IST
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In a brazen attack, MLA Wungnaoshang Keishing of Manipur’s Ukhrul district was injured while his six escort personnel including a civilian were killed when insurgents ambushed and fired upon his car with automatic weapons in Loktei Riha village in Ukhrul on Friday at around 2 a.m.
A civilian driver of the MLA and six personnel of the Manipur Rifles and IRB died on the spot while six other escort personnel including a civilian who sustained injuries in the ambush were rushed to a hospital in Imphal. Two seriously injured escort personnel along with the civilian have been admitted at Shija hospital while other three have been admitted at RIMS hospital.
The MLA who received minor injury on the shoulder was immediately rushed to the nearby 23 AR post and returned to his quarter at Imphal. A bullet gazed on the right shoulder of the MLA.
Insurgents laid the ambush at Keishing’s vehicle as he was leaving Riha village in Ukhrul district after attending a HIV and AIDS programme, organised by the Manipur Legislators’ Forum on HIV and AIDS.
Armed with automatic weapons, the suspected insurgents opened fire upon the vehicle escorted by personnel of the 1st, 2nd and 6th IRB in three vehicles.
The attack occurred at a place around one km short of Imphal-Ukhrul road (NH-150) which is around 16 km south of the Litan police station of Ukhrul district.
One of the escort vehicles fell into the deep gorge on the side of the road while others were badly damaged.
Earlier, some arms were feared to have been taken away by the attackers but all arms were recovered by the Assam Rifles and police personnel who conducted search as a follow up to the ambush.
The MLA was returning with three escort vehicles and a media team who were unhurt as their vehicle was at the rearmost. The car of the MLA and two escort vehicles were badly damaged in the ambush.
Police suspected NSCN (I-M) cadres to be behind the attack taking into account recent political activities of the independent MLA who was elected from Phungyar Assembly constituency of Ukhrul district with the backing of the United Naga Council (UNC).
The MLA’s relationship with the UNC was normal until he obeyed by the diktat of the UNC on whose advice he submitted resignation as MLA on May 12, 2010. MLA Wungnaoshang Keishing was among the seven Nagas MLAs who submitted resignation aftermath the Manipur government’s ban on NSCN (I-M) general secretary Th Muivah from entering Manipur territory in May 2010.
In January of this year, the UNC asked the MLAs to clarify their position on their membership in the Manipur Legislative Assembly. It had demanded a reply on or before January 31, 2011.
In reply, the seven MLAs reiterated that they had submitted their resignations to the Speaker of the State Assembly on May 6, 2010 but till date no ruling has been given by the Speaker.
While other MLAs remained silent with regard to their political activities, MLA Wungnaoshang continued his political activities when the demand for bifurcating the Ukhrul district to form Phungyar district arose.
UNC was not happy with the move of the Phungyar people of the four sub-divisions of the Ukhrul district, particularly the MLA and asked to withdraw their demand saying that the demand for a new district at this point of time in Naga/hill areas of Manipur was the handiwork of adversaries to vitiate and derail the alternative arrangement, claiming that the process for same (alternative arrangement) was in progress peacefully and democratically.
The Phungyar MLA, Wungnaoshang Keishing, in his reply, had expressed surprise at the UNC’s stand on the creation of Phungyar district, stating that the demand has nothing to do with the government of India and NSCN (I-M) peace talks.
He claimed that the demand for a new district was approached to the government as per wishes of the people and that he was supporting the demands as a representative of the people. It is a bounden duty as an MLA to fulfill the desire of the people, he had said.
Police suspected that such political developments might be the reason behind the attack on the MLA. However, no insurgent group has so far claimed responsibility for the ambush.

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