TODAY -

From war hero to outcast I

Yambem Laba *



When Brigadier LI Singh was given the sensitive and prestigeous post of Deputy Director General-A of the Indian Army's Discipline and Vigilance Directorate, he thought he'd made his mark, for all those who had held the post earlier were Lieutenant-Generals or had retired at that rank, his elder brother having achieved that position too.

Commissioned into the 13 Jammu and Kashmir Light Infantry as a subaltern at the age of 20 in 1983, he saw action in India's many undeclared wars with Pakistan in the high-altitude Siachen areas in 1985-86 and 1990-92.

He had also served on a UN Peacekeeping assignment in Somalia in 1994. He was soon made Commanding Officer of his own 13 JAK LI and led from the front during Operation Parakaram after the Kargril war from November 2002 to October 2004 and was succesful in reoccupying six posts and Point 5608 overlooking strategic Shingo Valley in Pakistan which could not be taken earlier by the Indian Army during the Kargil operations.

He and his soldiers were also able to destroy two huge fuel dumps on the Pakistani side making the Karakoram range akin to a volcanic eruption. For his action he was awarded the Yudh Seva Medal by then President of India, the late Dr APJ Abdul Kalam.

His citation read, "The officer through ingenuity, aggressiveness and well concieved plans executed operations with personal leadership resulting in occupation of six tactically dominating features besides inflicting heavy casualties on enemy personnel and materials."

Singh's unit suffered four deaths and seven injuries but it accounted for 52 Pakistani dead and 20 injuries, apart from destroying 115 Pakistani bunkers and setting ablaze three kerosene oil dumps and five SRP shelters. The citation further read, "A sterling performance. His Battalion affected total domination of the Line of Control in the Bimbat Area of Drass in Operation Parakram."

The then Chief of Army Staff wrote him a DO letter congratulating him and all his soldiers. In 2007, Colonel LI Singh was moved to the North-eastern region where India has been fighting another proxy war against insurgents and was appointed Colonel General Staff of HQ 21 Mountain Division, which was then launching Operation Rhino-II against the Ulfa and Bodo militants, not to forget the then simmering uprising by the Karbis in the Karbi Anglong area.

He was then moved as Additional DIG of HQ 5 Sector, Assam Rifles, which was then conducting Operation Hifazat. Besides being bold, brave and aggresive, a strategic planner and a tactical expert, he had also graduated from the Defence Staff College at Wellington.

So there was no holding him back as far as promotions went and, in December 2010, he was soon made Brigadier in Command, 164 Mountain Brigadeunder the Eastern Command and given charge of guarding India's border areas from the Chinese through the Chumbi Valley-Siliguri corridor.

He had also played a key role in many professional studies,including manifestation of threat by China's People's Liberation Army and the cold war strategy against India.

Then when the devastating earthquake struck Sikkim in 2011 throwing everything haywire, under Singh's leadership the Army swung into action and within 48 hours opened the Rongli-Zuluk axis, the only lifeline leading to southeast Sikkim. All his deeds as a Brigade Commander earned him "Outstanding" in all three confidential reports by two initiating officers.

His sterling performance, both as a most able field commander and an administrator, plus his impeccable integrity, soon caught the eye of Chief of Army Staff General VK Singh, who then handpicked him for the most sensitive post of Deputy Director General-A in the Discipline and Vigilance Directorate, the eyes and ears of what happens within the Indian Army, at Army Headquarters in Delhi in March 2012.

He had then thought he had finally made his career as a professional soldier for this would see him retiring as a lieutenant-general. Little did he realise that his ordeal was soon to begin. Way back on 10 March 2010, three Manipuris, namely Phijam Naobi, RK Roshan and Thounajam Prem were abducted from the Char Mile area of Dimapur in Nagaland. The Dimapur police launched an extensive search but drew a blank.

Then, a week later, the Dimapur police were informed by their Assam counterparts that three bullet-ridden bodies had been found in the Lakhijan area under Bokajan police station.

The bodies bore multiple torture marks, like nails driven into their heads and burn marks inflicted by blowtorches. On physical verification, these turned out to be of the three Manipuris.

The FIR registered in the case categorically mentioned that the abduction was carried out by military personnel and the finger of suspicion soon fell on the Army's 3 Corps cloak-and-dagger wing, the Intelligence and Surveillance Unit based at Rangapahar in Dimapur which was known to have been involved in such crimes earlier.

The Dimapur police then approached the Army authorities who, in turn, issued a flat denial, claiming immunity under the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act.

The Army's Investigation Unit was then headed by Colonel Govindan Shreekumar, but his second-in-command, Major T Ravi Kiran, turned whistleblower and on 12 March wrote to the GOC Eastern Command, with copies marked to the GOC 3-Corps and the Chief of Army Staff, stating that the three Manipuris were abducted on 10 March and brought to their unit and after being tortured were shot behind the unit's mess.

When no action was forthcoming, he shot off another reminder to his superiors on 25 January 2015. After all this, Army headquarters finally reacted and directed the authorities at Fort William to take action.

Lieutenant General Dalbir Singh Suhag had by then taken over as General Officer Commanding, 3 Corps. General Suhag's enquiry, however, concealed more than it revealed. Headed by Brigadier A Bhuia, who had no legal sanctity, it was a complete eyewash and Colonel Govindan Shreekumar, lady officer Captain Rubeena Kaur Kher and Major Nector Baum charged with hatching the plot to kill the Manipuris and who were reportedly involved in nefarious activities like sharing extortion money, abetting the flow of narcotics and selling stolen vehicles continued to be General Suhag's "blue eyed" lot. Then came the "botched" Jorhat Operation".

Two competing Army contractors were fighting for their turf in areas under 3 Corps and one of them had the ingenuity of ulitilising the services of the same Intelligence Survey Unit under Colonel Govindan. So in the early hours of 20 December 2011 an armed party comprising 15 soldiers in battle fatigues, led by Captain Rubeena Kaur, raided the house of Surajit Gogoi while he was away on work in Guwahati. They manhandled his wife Renu and tied her up along with their three children.

Then, under Captain Kaur's orders, the keys to their almirahs were snatched and a licensed pistol along with 15 cartridges, jewellery worth Rs.6.5 lakh and cash amounting to Rs.1.5 lakh were looted. They also took away an assortment of items that included a laptop and four mobile phones. Gogoi filed an FIR with the Jorhat police but had no clue about the actual identity of the soldiers or the unit involved. A week later, the police got a crucial break when a call made to someone in Haryana was traced to one of the stolen mobiles.

The Haryana police investigated the matter and found that the call had been made by Havildar Sandeep Thapa of 3 Corps' Intelligence and Surveillance Unit and was one of the participants in that infamous raid. Police later established from mobile records that Colonel Govindan Shreekumar was in constant touch with Captain Kaur before and after the raid. The Army top brass ordered a Court of Inquiry and General Suhag played the same tune as in the case of the killing of the three Manipuri boys.


* Yambem Laba wrote this article for The Sangai Express
The writer is The Statesman's Imphal-based special correspondent
This article was posted on April 09, 2016.


* Comments posted by users in this discussion thread and other parts of this site are opinions of the individuals posting them (whose user ID is displayed alongside) and not the views of e-pao.net. We strongly recommend that users exercise responsibility, sensitivity and caution over language while writing your opinions which will be seen and read by other users. Please read a complete Guideline on using comments on this website.




LATEST IN E-PAO.NET
  • Words of caution for the expendable citizens
  • 11 in line for Congress ticket
  • Gaan-Ngai @Majorkhul #1 : Gallery
  • Eyek Tamba :: Learn Manipuri script
  • CAB, 2016: Ethnocide of Indigenous People
  • When 7th Pay & UGC regulations for college
  • Truthfully Yours :: Poem
  • Detox your hair
  • Job Openings at PR Enterprises, Imphal
  • Police action to protestors in Tripura
  • India in grave danger
  • Issues, issues everywhere, anytime
  • Match: 4th Women's Polo #1: Gallery
  • CAB Protest [17 Jan] : Gallery
  • Ranjit Ningthouja : Profile of a playwright
  • Poetry Of Manipuri Women Authors #3
  • Bird's Eye view at 'Go To School' Mission
  • 10 % reservation & ST demand ?
  • Poetic Justice - III :: Poem
  • Inner Line Permit (ILP) Demand :: Timeline
  • Legislative Assistant to MP- Fellowship
  • The changing face of Manipuri youths
  • Rolling up sleeves for ST tag
  • Symbolism in the Tribal Art #1
  • Chongdeinem, Abothem :: eMing
  • ST Demand - Poster Campaign : Gallery
  • Retrospective View On Driver's Day
  • Integrated farming & its importance
  • Nightingales in winter :: Poem
  • Tour to Delhi for border area students
  • Nagaland Cabinet Meeting on CAB
  • Gaan-Ngai @Chingmeirong : Gallery
  • Gaan-Ngai - festival of Kabui #1
  • Protest against CAB [Jan 15] #2: Gallery
  • Gaan-Ngai, Festival of Zeliangrong
  • Understanding Mao Tse-Tung
  • Of Vernacular & my Enlightenment..
  • Teacher wanted at Tekcham High School
  • Demanding release of Kishorechandra
  • BJP's Agenda : Curtain raised
  • Topping in enrolment in pvt schools
  • Imoinu Erat Thouni #1 : Gallery
  • Gaan Ngai :: Flash Presentation
  • CAB Protest [16 Jan] : Gallery
  • Dr Thokchom Asha: Teacher Award
  • Cry of a Dying River - 62 :: Poem
  • Occasion & festivity as career choice
  • Rejoinder to NDPP on CAB by NPF
  • Saving tomorrow for our children
  • Open invitation to Mission schools
  • Women's Intl Polo [Jan 17] : Gallery
  • A Hymn for Goddess Emoinu
  • Manipur tops enrolment in private schools
  • Variance of laboratory results
  • A Christian perspective on solidarity #2
  • Naga International Trade Fair at Dimapur
  • Has Loktak mortgaged to Company
  • CAB: Lining up public convention on Jan 20
  • Purnima Ngangom (Printmaker) :: Profile
  • CAB Protest [11 Jan] #3 : Gallery
  • Poetry Of Manipuri Women Authors #2
  • CAB & scoring 21 out of 25 ?
  • Complications :: Poem
  • North East Business Summit at Delhi
  • Almond oil is the ultimate skin care
  • The Bill that haunt the government
  • Over 50 police personnel chargesheeted
  • Insurgency related incidents in NE states
  • Myanmar border fence going nowhere
  • Protest against CAB [Jan 15] #1: Gallery
  • Crop diseases & organic way of managing
  • War and Poetry :: Poem
  • Landeng-Pena yakaiduna Poster Campaign
  • The Killing Fields 2013-18 : News Timeline
  • Condemns communal nature of CAB 2016
  • PCC, Arunachal Pradesh on CAB, 2016
  • CAB and other issues before LS polls
  • Sit-In against CAB [Jan 14] : Gallery
  • CAB : Our Identity & Culture is at stake
  • Re-Imagining the Naga Peace Process
  • Demand for ILP :: Articles/Photos...
  • Northeast Startup Summit 2019
  • Ponder them to live like human beings
  • No Shield for Manipur against CAB
  • Missing link: NE, CAB & obscure assurance
  • JCILPS Protest against CAB : Gallery
  • AMUCO Rally against CAB : Gallery
  • Poetic Justice - II :: Poem
  • Makar Sankranti Musing
  • Biren should release Kishorchandra
  • New archaeological site in Senapati
  • A Christian perspective on solidarity #1
  • New craft gallery to promote NE products
  • Rights body warns Nagas on Article 371 (A)
  • NE Black Day against CAB : Gallery
  • CAB Protest [11 Jan] #2 : Gallery
  • Narendra Modi @ Imphal #2: Gallery
  • Myanmar-India Business Summit, Sagaing
  • Cry of a Dying River - 61 :: Poem
  • Preventing the Dengue threat
  • NPF on Citizenship Amendment Bill, 2016
  • Nagaland Chief Minister On CAB 2016
  • Hijacking by pseudoscience
  • Mr. CM, you can't fool people on CAB
  • CAB 2016: Adoption of foreign citizens
  • CAB Protest [11 Jan] #1 : Gallery
  • CAB & question of India's North East
  • Poetry Of Manipuri Women Authors #1
  • Local actions for #GlobalGoals
  • Know your HIV status
  • Pope Francis - the last Pope!
  • CAB is unsecular discriminatory bill
  • When Govt. disregard Constitutions...
  • Citizenship Bill: An exceptional exception
  • The Walking Lady : A Short Story
  • 4th Convocation Ceremony of CAU
  • The Voice of Silence :: Poem
  • Against CAB 2016 : 6 Student Bodies
  • Need for a separate time zone
  • BOOM MMA : 'Manipur Top Team' members
  • Against Citizenship Bill Act 2016
  • Lt Gen Rajeev Sirohi at Spear Corps
  • Is the middle man responsible
  • Economically weak at Rs 8 lakh per annum ?
  • Umanglai Haraoba: Traditional Institution
  • Strike against CAB : Gallery
  • People - animal conflict
  • Fine on relieving in public
  • Flawed/divisive Citizenship Bill dangerous
  • Broken :: Poem
  • Meetei gi mayokta leiba Political party..
  • NE uniting under shutdown call : CAB
  • Trains in NE to get 'glass-top' coaches
  • Yubi Lakpi #2 : Gallery
  • Freedom's fault lines
  • Traditional Manipuri Curries
  • Governance in Multi-Ethnic States
  • Understanding animal welfare
  • Unite against corruption for development
  • Manipurgi Maraibk Kari Oihougani
  • On restoring of director of CBI
  • Citizenship Bill : scourge for NE
  • Feel good factor from UNC
  • New Year picnic at Sekmai #2: Gallery
  • A tale of two falcons
  • Artificial Insemination in livestock
  • The Naked Truth :: Poem
  • My itinerary visit to Veeranapalya
  • Test for Free Coaching for IIT/AIIMS
  • Critique of Transgender Persons Bill
  • Press Rejoinder from NPF [7 Jan]
  • Nagaland Cabinet on Citizenship Bill
  • Can we expect something from govt
  • Mova Cave, Ukhrul #2 :: Gallery
  • Sangai Fest: Sumo Wrestling #2 :: Gallery
  • Maipaksana RK: Entrepreneurship Award
  • Poetic Justice - I
  • IIT-G Technology Incubation Centre
  • Sana Chahi Ahum & 1857 revolt #2
  • Economics of climate change & growth
  • Singhat Students tour to Delhi & Agra
  • Congress against Modi on Rafale Deal
  • Press Club celebrates foundation day
  • NSF to impose 11-hr bandh on Jan 8
  • 518 drug traffickers arrested in 2018
  • Gangmumei Kamei Memorial lecture
  • Taking the Street Vendor seriously #1
  • WWII museums in Japan: Gallery
  • Schedule : HSLC Examination 2019
  • Schedule : Class XI Examination 2019
  • Schedule : HSE Examination 2019
  • Caste System in Contemporary India: Book
  • Save energy and save your skin
  • Benefits of henna for beauty
  • Coronary In-stent obstruction treated
  • A take on PM visit to Imphal
  • No over the top promises, assurances
  • Narendra Modi @ Imphal #1: Gallery
  • Management of commercial broiler farming
  • 61st CC Meet Football Tournament 2019
  • Noise Ruins & Blights Lives
  • Social media & freedom of speech
  • Cry of a Dying River - 60 :: Poem
  • Declare war against air pollution
  • Winter relief at Thanga
  • Of monologues and conveniences
  • Raising posers before PM's arrival: Cong
  • Irengbam Bedamani :: eRang Photos
  • Poireiton Chakhao at Loktak Lake
  • Hojang :: Poem
  • New Year: Challenges & opportunities
  • One Rank One Pension Paper (OROP)
  • Naga Peace Process :: News Timeline
  • New Year picnic at Sekmai #1: Gallery
  • May the Year 2019 bring integrity of Manipur
  • Sangai Fest: Evening Prog #2: Gallery
  • What I learned from Kishorchandra detention
  • Nupi Lal Ningsing Lamjel #4: Gallery
  • Village Authority in Hill Areas of Manipur #2
  • From nomenclature conflict of oral tradition
  • Bye Bye 2018 !!! : Gallery
  • Manipuri Calendar for 2019 : Download
  • Featured Front Page Photo 2018 #6: Gallery
  • Unforgettable Revolutionary NK Sanajaoba
  • Certificate distribution at Namsai, ArP
  • Top 5 Indie/Alternative Picks of 2018
  • Sangaithel Park @Sangai: Gallery
  • A view of Ukhrul Town #1: Gallery
  • January Calendar for Year 2019 :: Tools
  • National Mathematics Day & Ramanujan
  • Thougal Jagoi @Sangai: Gallery
  • Snowfall @Tamei, Tamenglong : Gallery
  • China spreads across Indochina Peninsula
  • Ningol Chakkouba Shopping #2: Gallery
  • Xmas: Churches @Lamphel : Gallery
  • 27th Imphal Book Fair #2 : Gallery
  • The Crying Call of Motherland :: Poem
  • Kwatha Festival #3 : Gallery
  • 12th Manipur Polo Intl #2 : Gallery
  • Harvard Leadership Program at Don Bosco
  • Christmas @Churachandpur : Gallery
  • UN Rapporteur briefed on Kishorechand
  • Nupi Lal Ningsing Lamjel #3: Gallery
  • Irengbam Bedamani - Actress :: eRang
  • List of Restricted Holidays for 2019
  • List of Public Holidays for 2019
  • List of General Holidays for 2019
  • Ningol - mapam lamdam : Gallery
  • Fabrics of Bangladeshi Manipuri: Download
  • Manglandasu Nang - OST :: e-pao Radio
  • Old Manipuri Movie #1 :: eRang Classic
  • SPONSORED ADS