Sacrificial lamb


Is it because he is not really an Indian? Brigadier Laiphrakpam Ibotombi Singh of 13th Battalion Jammu and Kashmir Light Infantry (JAKLI) is the first army officer among the alumni of the Imphal Sainik School to reach the rank of Brigadier and based on his clean track record, he was appointed recently as the Deputy Director General, Discipline and Vigilance (DDG, DV) at the army headquarters in New Delhi after his tenure as the Cdr of the Watershed Brigade in Sikkim. Now he has become a sacrificial lamb of an enduring conflict between top army generals. The question is why? Is it because he is different or he does not look Indian or he has excelled among his peers? The factor of ‘envy’ can also come into the picture. His second qualification for envy and hatred is that he is from the Northeast and he is an officer of the J & K based Light Infantry, two regions where the Indian defence forces operate with special powers among the civilian population. Brig L Ibotombi Singh had excelled in Staff College and Higher Command Course. For excellent, commendable performance and exemplary leadership while commanding his battalion in Drass, Brigadier LI Singh was awarded Yudh Sewa Medal after Operation Parakram. He is a source of inspiration for many and he motivates thousands of youths in the region to join the uniformed services. This is not the first time that Manipuris in the army organization has been victimized. Promotions had been held up. While the air is hot with increased incidents of racial profiling of the Northeast students and people in the metropolitan cities and other parts of India, this incident of apparent victimization of a Manipuri Brigadier has cemented the issue.

The Manipuris have a martial tradition and war is in their blood. The Manipuris had held sway in these parts of Indo-Burma region as a minor regional power and their prowess in battle was feared by many. Their realm of influence had even reached the Yunan region in present China. This martial energy leads our young generation to either fighting for India or against India. Again this energy is reflected in sports and the civilizational history that it had inherited has brought forth excellence in the field of education and art & culture. Manipur is indeed the sports powerhouse of India and many of our sports persons are representing not only Manipur but other states of India and of course India in the world arena. Coming back to the point, what really is the issue behind the present fracas of inquiry against an officer with impeccable record and unimpeachable integrity?

Brigadier LI Singh was probing the botched-up Jorhat intelligence operation. As a DDG in the DV directorate, Brig L Ibotombi Singh had asked the Eastern Command and the Dimapur based 3 Corps to explain inaction of officers in taking disciplinary action against those involved in the Jorhat intelligence operation where a team of 3 Corps Intelligence and Surveillance Unit was found to have broken into the house of an MES contractor and stolen a pistol, mobile phone and cash. This little known special unit CISU came into focus with the Jorhat incident. The cloak and dagger operations of the special unit are not known to many and it reportedly reports to a desk in the defence ministry at New Delhi. Perhaps the reason for an effort to tarnish the image of a distinguish officer like Brigadier L Ibotombi Singh lie in the investigation of the Jorhat incident which the army top brass would like to shove under the carpet. If such an officer is dragged and placed on the chopping block what would it mean to the proud Manipuris and the Northeast in general? That is for India and the army top brass to decide.


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