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
  • Kanglei Thokpa @ Sagol Kangjei : Gallery
  • Violence in Manipur 2023-2024 : Timeline
  • Featured Front Page Photo 2024 #3: Gallery
  • Meitei Professors' Invention granted Patent
  • Historic Premiere: 'Chilli Chicken' at Manipur
  • Effective Unified Command for Resolution
  • Music & Quiz: Drug Abuse amongst youth
  • Visionless and headless DMU
  • When is the right time & situation for PM visit
  • Descent of Radha-Krishna #37: Download
  • Inspirations from Scientists of Manipur: Book
  • Manipur crisis: Treat the disease, not symptom
  • 133rd Durand Cup Trophies Flags Off
  • NEET droppers vs freshers
  • Death : Only future to look at ?
  • Mental health of displaced people
  • Aftermath of Imphal Flooding #1 : Gallery
  • When was the last time we smiled ?
  • Appeal to Stop Unbearable Monetary Demand
  • 'Oppenheimer' links with Supreme Science
  • 'Preventing from holding a press conference'
  • Travel tips during Monsoon
  • Look at it via ground reality
  • Making the 'Balak Buddhi' wiser
  • Kang Chingba @Govindajee #1 : Gallery
  • Release Ebo Mili & Stop large dams in ArP
  • Rainforests are the lungs of Earth
  • Education suffering from political interference
  • Inflated bill main vote plank, law dont cut graft
  • From the Lok Sabha to Manipur
  • Third visit of Rahul
  • Birth Centenary of Jananeta Irabat, 1996 : #9
  • International Day of Yoga #1 : Gallery
  • Lord Jagannatha's processional chariot fest
  • World Zoonoses Day 2024
  • PM 'bola' in Parliament
  • Acknowledging the stand of UNC
  • Embracing tree plantation as a new trend
  • 17th N Tombi Equestrian C'ships #2 : Gallery
  • The spirit & the creed of the Olympics
  • Kang Chingba (Rath Yatra) : Book
  • 'Economic blockade: Rumors baseless'
  • The Power of Poppy - 38 :: Poem
  • Balancing children's academic performance
  • Imphal flooded (again) [Jul 3] #2 : Gallery
  • Covid, Ngari, Yu and Loktak
  • Rural people struggling with network problem
  • English certificate courses for BA student
  • 6th July is International Day of Cooperatives
  • Clogging the waterways with plastics
  • Diverting public attention from core issues
  • Manipur Kanba Khongchat #2 : Gallery
  • Gateway of Assam
  • Integrating GIS & EWS for flood management
  • The Dopamine overdose
  • Free workshop on civil service exams
  • Bucket of cold water after a hot shower
  • Breaking the silence
  • Imphal flooded (again) [Jul 3] #1 : Gallery
  • Embracing 'Sharra - Kashar-ot'
  • Drug abuse & illicit trafficking in Manipur
  • Nudity being served to increase followers
  • Record high temperature
  • Bangladesh FM Hasan Mahmud's Riyadh visit
  • Indigenous call for NRC
  • Come home to the electorates
  • Meiteis must unite for survival
  • Flood advisories issued
  • State & District Control Rooms
  • Green Hydrogen for a clean environment
  • Need for an Emergency
  • Monsoons beauty
  • Calling out the indifference of Delhi
  • Questioning the silence with a roar
  • Birth Centenary of Jananeta Irabat, 1996 : #8
  • Problem & prospect of floriculture in Manipur
  • WomenLeaders India Fellowship 2024-25
  • Naga Peace Talks and Narasimha Rao
  • Arunachal Minister visits Oil Palm @Godavari
  • Clear cut stand from the Nagas
  • Crisis resolution in 100-day plan ?
  • Great June Uprising @Kekrupat #2 : Gallery
  • Manipur: A battleground of imperial geopolitics
  • Wangkhem Suresh @ Higher Defence Course
  • Shoppers Stop's 1st Store in Dimapur
  • Stop razing rail station, divert 25k Cr to Signal
  • Has Imphal completely lost the plot ?
  • Time to take responsibility
  • Tarpon chaklen katpa @ Andro #3 : Gallery
  • July Calendar for Year 2024 : Tools
  • Letter to Prime Minister of India
  • International Day of Parliamentarism
  • Skill Development Course at Lumshnong
  • The Power of Poppy - 37 :: Poem
  • Radio E-pao: Manipuri Film OST (130+ song)
  • Manipur Kanba Khongchat #1 : Gallery
  • Multiple Openings @ JCRE Solutions
  • Our mass addiction to predicting future
  • Bonsai - A play with another aspect : Review
  • Timely diagnosis to stop misuse of medicines
  • Impactful tool- Instagram marketing strategy
  • Essence of the June 28 rally
  • Birds of the same feather
  • Scientist of Manipur: Satyendra Thoudam
  • Education and the fate of Manipur
  • Centre not mind talking to Kitovi or Alezo
  • "ST status for Meetei" at Nambol
  • Why Bangladesh urge military diplomacy
  • MoU : Assam Don Bosco Univ with Cambridge
  • Understanding beyond the coup
  • Donning the role of LoP
  • Rally @ Jiribam [June 26] : Gallery
  • Umananda Island- World smallest river island
  • Breaking the impasse
  • Fantasies of a sinister childhood
  • Program: developing women entrepreneurship
  • Microlearning is impacting talent acquisition
  • Looking for the way forward
  • The message
  • Moirangthem Robi - Mr Universe India 2022
  • Parthenium Menace in Indo-Myanmar : Book
  • Respect & recognise domestic worker
  • "ST status for Meetei" at Hiyanglam
  • One test not for India
  • Include tomatoes in your skincare routine
  • Raising ST call a notch or two higher
  • United in grief, but...
  • Panthoibi Phijol Hongba @Mandalay : Gallery
  • Open Letter to Hon'ble CM of Manipur
  • Slavery in the machine world
  • 'Either Rio regime delivers or it fails'
  • No need for NEET or NET
  • Walkathon to promote health at Guwahati
  • Paradox of arming & disarming citizens
  • Meaningless statements
  • Birth Centenary of Jananeta Irabat, 1996 : #7
  • You are king of web, then slave
  • A Groundbreaking HIV Prevention Option
  • Board of Studies at Assam Don Bosco
  • Public Services as a career choice
  • Manipur violence and state
  • Last minute cancellation
  • Descent of Radha-Krishna #36: Download
  • Saraighat Bridge - An Expedition
  • Meeting with MP Dr Bimol Akoijam
  • Manipur: 11 medal (5 gold) @ Natl Taekwondo
  • Socialization and the Two "Meads"
  • The Power of Poppy - 36 :: Poem
  • Scientist of Manipur: Raghumani Ningthoujam
  • Chilli Chicken Delivers a Flavorful Punch
  • International Day of Yoga 2024
  • Antimicrobial Resistance: Top 10 health threat
  • Indo-Naga Talks (From 2012) :: Timeline
  • Taste vs Health
  • Fiasco of UGC-NET, NEET 2024
  • From NEET to NET: It's time to fix NTA
  • Great June Uprising @Kekrupat #1 : Gallery
  • Ema Panthoibi Phijol Hongba at Mandalay
  • Proposed Palm Plantation behind Jiri violence?
  • 'Why Impose War on Us'
  • Why workers most affected by scorching heat?
  • Coup of 2021 not the only push factor
  • Last chance not to fall from grace
  • Ibudhou Cheng Hongba #1 : Gallery
  • Kind attention 'Your Lordship' CJ of India
  • 'Opposition-less Govt in Nagaland is rhetoric'
  • Xorai - Assam's cultural symbol
  • Natural ways to lighten dark underarms
  • Is Delhi doing the right thing ?
  • Set the priorities right
  • Ima Keithel flood- May 30 #3 : Gallery
  • Modi's arduous journey & fate of Naga peace
  • Autism: Why fit in, when you can stand out?
  • Bloodstained Masquerade :: Poem
  • Dharamvir Singh: Forgotten hero of TV
  • What is keeping the clash going on ?
  • Warning of a coming politico-military storm
  • Birth Centenary of Jananeta Irabat, 1996 : #6
  • The Great June 18 Uprising : Timeline
  • The Great June 18 Uprising : Gallery
  • Are we on track to end AIDS by 2030 ?
  • 3 writers from Manipur for Sahitya Akademi
  • Manipur's traffic, parking: A big nuisance
  • Career in elderly care
  • Keeping the folks under a state of confusion
  • Nothing neat about NEET
  • Aid to relief camps @ Jiribam : Gallery
  • Gastronomy tourism in Manipur : Gallery
  • Eid-ul-Adha: Embracing sacrifice
  • Bike Rally - Sekmai to Kangla : Gallery
  • Tarpon chaklen katpa @ Andro #2 : Gallery
  • 2nd Annual Art Exhibition #1 : Gallery
  • Education Fair @Imphal #2 : Gallery
  • Ima Keithel flood- May 30 #2 : Gallery
  • Scientist of Manipur: Laishram Shanta
  • Bimol Akoijam (Cong) wins Inner PC : Gallery
  • 'Ishanou' Selection @ Cannes #2: Gallery
  • Imphal valley districts flooded #3 : Gallery
  • Ima Keithel flood- May 30 #1 : Gallery
  • Imphal valley districts flooded #2 : Gallery
  • Imphal valley districts flooded #1 : Gallery
  • Licypriya meets Italy PM & Pope Francis
  • HSLC (Class X) 2024 : Full Result
  • HSLC 2024 : Important Info & Grading System
  • HSLC 2024 : Pass % : Private Schools
  • HSLC 2024 : Pass % : Aided Schools
  • HSLC 2024 : Pass % : Govt Schools
  • HSLC 2024 : Statistical Abstract
  • HSLC 2024 : Comparative Statement
  • Scientist of Manipur: Jayanta Manoharmayum
  • Scientist of Manipur: Amom Ruhikanta
  • Preserving Thang-Ta :: Rare Photos
  • Malemnganbi Laishram : Science Topper
  • Thokchom Sheityajit : Arts Topper
  • Aiena Naorem : Commerce Topper
  • Hr Secondary Exam 2024 : Science Topper
  • HSE 2024 : Subject Pass Percentage
  • HSE 2024 : District Pass Percentage
  • HSE 2024 : Candidates with Highest Marks
  • Hr Secondary Exam 2024: Science Full Result
  • Hr Secondary Exam 2024: Arts Full Result
  • Hr Secondary Exam 2024: Commerce Result
  • Hr Secondary Exam 2024 : Arts Topper
  • Hr Secondary Exam 2024 : Commerce Topper
  • Nupi Landa Thaunaphabishing : Full Book
  • A ferocious hailstorm @Imphal : Gallery
  • Scientists of Manipur : Ngangkham Nimai
  • GHOST of PEACE :: Download Booklet
  • List of Kings of Manipur: 33 - 1984 AD