A junior commissioned officer (JCO) was injured in an attack on an Assam Rifles patrol near the India-Myanmar border in Arunachal Pradesh’s Changlang around 3 a.m. on Tuesday, resulting in a 30-minute exchange of fire, according to officials familiar with the situation.
Lt Col A S Walia, public relations officer (defence), said the patrol was fired upon from across the border while Assam Rifles troops were conducting enhanced patrolling activities in preparation for the Independence Day celebrations. “One JCO suffered a minor hand injury.” There was no reported injury or other damage.” Walia added that increased surveillance would continue.
Officials familiar with the situation cited an initial investigation, which suggested that the attack was carried out by the United Liberation Front of Asom-Independent (ULFA-I) and the Yung Aung faction of the National Socialist Council of Nagaland (Khaplang)-(NSCN-KYA).
The attack came three days after the two groups, which have camps in Myanmar, called for a shutdown on August 15 in Assam, Nagaland, Manipur, Tripura, and Meghalaya and urged people not to participate in “fake Independence Day activities.”
In a statement issued on Saturday, the groups cited a drop in living standards and an economic slowdown as a result of the Covid pandemic, adding that celebrating Independence Day was “worthless.” “Celebrating the 76th pretentious Independence Day is unfair, historically irrelevant, and worthless for a state that is unable to stand by the suffering problem in such a time of declining living standards,” the statement said.
According to a Changlang official who spoke on the condition of anonymity, the JCO was injured by grenade splinters and there was retaliatory firing, which lasted about 30 minutes. The attackers fled the scene, but due to the difficult terrain, no counter-offensive to track them down has been launched.
A similar attack on another Assam Rifles patrol near the Myanmar border in Nagaland’s Noklak district around the same time was reported, but the Army said the incident had yet to be confirmed.