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Manipur CM escapes militant attack in Ukhrul

| MANOJ ANAND
Published : Oct 25, 2016, 4:31 am IST
Updated : Oct 25, 2016, 4:31 am IST

Security men guard after protesters burnt a vehichle during a protest against Manipur Chief Minister Okram Ibobi Singh's visit in curfew bound Ukhrul district of Manipur. (Photo: PTI)

Okram Ibobi Singh.jpg
 Okram Ibobi Singh.jpg

Security men guard after protesters burnt a vehichle during a protest against Manipur Chief Minister Okram Ibobi Singh's visit in curfew bound Ukhrul district of Manipur. (Photo: PTI)

Manipur chief minister Okram Ibobi Singh escaped an attack on his life on Monday when heavily-armed Naga rebels opened fire on his helicopter soon after it landed at the Ukhrul helipad.

Though chief minister and his deputy Gaikhangam escaped unhurt, two security personnel of Manipur Rifles sustained bullet injuries.

Mr Ibobi, along with his deputy chief minister, had gone to Ukhrul — a district dominated by Tangkhul Nagas — to inaugurate a hospital and an office building.

The locals had called for a boycott of the inaugural ceremony as they alleged that work on 100-bedded district hospital was yet to be completed. The local residents were opposing the inauguration of an incomplete hospital by the chief minister.

Indicating that NSCN (I-M) rebels were involved in the firing incident, security sources said that helicopter carrying chief minister and his deputy landed at about 9.30 am at Ukhrul.

The chief minister’s helicopter immediately took off from Ukhrul and left for Chingai, a remote village, but could not land there also due to protests by locals, security sources said. The chief minister then cancelled his programmes and flew back to the state capital Imphal where he called an emergency Cabinet meeting, security source said.

The chief minister had several official programmes lined up at Hunphung village and at Chingai village in Ukhrul district. Mr Ibobi was to travel to Hunphung to inaugurate the 100-bedded Ukhrul district hospital and a power sub-station.

Earlier, shortly after midnight on Sunday, unknown miscreants had detonated a bomb near the newly-constructed district hospital. The pandal where the public meeting of chief minister was planned was destroyed. One IRB personnel had also sustained injuries in the blast.

Meanwhile, irate Ukhrul public torched two police vehicles as security forces carried out massive operations in the town. Security sources said that situation was tense but under control.