Home Ministry says 68 killed in Myanmar border strike

Conflicting reports are emerging about the number of insurgents killed in the Army's hot pursuit in Myanmar, with Union Home Ministry on Friday estimating that 68 insurgents could have been killed in the surgical operations.

While the Defence Ministry had pegged the deaths in the June 8 operations at around 20, the Home Ministry had initially said at least 38 insurgents were killed by the Army commandos who sneaked into the border areas of Myanmar and struck two terror camps.

On Friday, Home Ministry officials claimed on the basis of inputs provided by authorities in Myanmar that bodies of 19 insurgents were buried at the spot by their colleagues, while another 49 bodies were taken away by militants. They also said 60 others were critically injured in the operation.

Most of the insurgents killed in action belonged to Manipur's People's Liberation Army and the Manipur Naga Revolutionary Front, while just one belonged to the NSCN (Khaplang), or NSCN(K).

Confusion prevailed over the figures, but none of the officials were willing to come on record. The NSCN(K) has challenged the government on the figures, daring the security establishment to make public the pictures of the cross-border operation.

With reactions from the Indian side creating trouble for Myanmar, there is unease in the leadership in annoying the neighbouring country.

The issue was even discussed at a high-level meeting on Thursday.

Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh spoke to Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting Rajyavardhan Rathore following the latter's comments on the operations. There was no official word on what transpired when Rathore met Singh.
Rathore's as well as other ministers' comments have provoked Pakistan.

Meanwhile, government sources said there should not be much public discussion on such operations as several players do not want to be in the spotlight for their participation or aid.

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