As Prime Minister Narendra Modi has said, the Manipur horror video has shamed India. At the same time, it was pathetic to see a smug minister on TV questioning the “timing” of the release of the video – same as the question raised when the movie Kashmir Files was released. The irony is that amid the wretched political slugfest, these gory events have happened and it is inconceivable that the state and central intelligence agencies were unaware of what happened on ground. Why did they remain mum?

This was, is, and will remain the India story unless some drastic measures are instituted – certainly not by blocking social media platforms. Such issues not only cannot be suppressed permanently but there are external actors wanting to expose India and show us in a bad light. Why Twitter showed the video in question but Facebook would not is part of the US design to keep India under pressure. Manipur fires continue to burn and have already spread to Meghalaya although the mainstream media has shown casual interest in these incidents.     

Visuals accelerate public awareness, which in turn forces the administration to sit up and act (in whatever measure) – example being the instant Manipur horror video. Unfortunately, there is no video covering the incident in Itham village in Manipur’s Imphal East district on June 24, 2023, where an Army column on “specific information” arrested 12 KYKL terrorist but were forced to hand them to a mob of women and locals, as had been reported earlier.

These 12 KYKL terrorists included self-styled Lt Col Moirangthem Tamba alias Uttam, mastermind of the KYKL terrorist ambush on a convoy of 6 DOGRA on June 4, 2015, killing 18 army personnel of the unit. The Army’s Spear Corps in a 243-worded tweet had explained the confrontation with the women mob and likely casualties in the event of any action by them.

But now Sushant Singh, senior fellow in Centre for Policy Research, in his article dated July 19, 2023, has brought out the startling fact that the women mob that forced the release of the 12 KYKL terrorists was led by a legislature of the Manipur State Assembly. The MLA in question is none other than Thaounaojam Shyam Kumar Singh – hereafter referred to as TSS. A terrorist himself, TSS faced charges under UAPA and was denied bail petitions multiple times by the Delhi High Court.

Major exploits of the TSS as recorded by the Court and the police charge sheet based on interrogation and admissions by TSS himself are as under:

  • He is providing logistic and other support to members of banned terrorist outfit KYKL (Kanglei YawolKanna Lup) and UNLF.
  • After 1997, while working socially in the political field, many underground terrorists met him as there were multiple  camps of PLA, UNLF, KYKL, KUKI etc.
  • Loya, commander of KYKL, was his very close friend through whom he became close to other members of KYKL.
  • In March 2003, he agreed to provide safer hideout and logistic help to Langanba and other members of KYKL in exchange for help in the next elections.
  • In April 2003, the KYKL kidnapped businessman Manoj Kumar Sethi (Non-Manipuri) demanding ransom of Rs 1 crore and killed him when the ransom demand was not met. TSS was arrested as accused along with other KYKL members and NSA was also imposed upon him for this heinous crime.
  • He is without contractor licence but with political and terrorist support works as a subcontractor.
  • In August 2006, he met SS Lt. Col. Romeo through  Langamba of KYKL and brought two KYKL women from Guwahati to Delhi as demanded to Swisden Palace, Karol Bagh, where Langamba and Romeo later joined them. On their request he also visited Kathmandu, chose hotel accommodation and arranged air tickets from Guwahati to Delhi and onwards to Kathmandu but were arrested at IGI airport Delhi. 
  • Accused Thounaojam Shyam Kumar was found involved in heinous cases in Meghalaya and Manipur.

TSS signals the arrival of the ‘Politico-Terrorists’ on the Indian scene although where is their hatchery and how many more in this clan remains ambiguous. A parallel from history where Moghuls kept eunuchs to guard their harems, we have a special breed of ‘Eunuch-Politicians’ who use women as shields and don’t mind them protesting even naked. Protests by naked women should be officially banned instead of giving political patronage to such protests from the shadows. The US employs terrorists in foreign countries/regions to advance its national interests. But we have overtaken the US by using terrorists within our country for political gains.

The moot question now is what is the government going to do with politico-terrorist Thounaojam Shyam Kumar? Being a seasoned terrorist, he is unlikely to disclose on whose orders he secured the release of the 12 KYKL terrorists without a truth serum. Political skullduggery and judicial theatrics don’t inspire public confidence anyway looking at Yasin Malik still not hanged despite boasting to BBC he killed four IAF personnel in Rawalpora, Srinagar on 25 January 1990, and despite being charged under TADA in March 2020.  

But why is politico-terrorist Thounaojam Shyam Kumar free? What reason would he give for securing the release of the 12 KYKL terrorists – defending Imphal Valley, ethnic cleansing or something else? Can he now be forced to help arrest/kill the 12 KYKL terrorists including Moirangthem Tamba alias Uttam responsible for the killing of 18 personnel of 6 DOGRA on June 4, 2015 in an ambush? Doesn’t deliberately depriving the Army from avenging their dead from identified terrorist’s actions amount to abusing the Tricolour? Immediate and effective action against TSS needs to be taken by the Centre as the Manipur State Government appears compromised with the administration not filing the FIR for the 4 May Manipur horror for two weeks and little action thereafter.

Finally, there is much hype over discarding archaic and ineffective laws. But how about nullifying the so-called ‘Anti-Defection Law’; which has actually been “facilitating” defections?  With the Parliament session just begun, an ordinance needs to be passed that lawmakers winning elections on the ticket of a particular political party must serve in the same party for the “full term”.  In between defections is an abuse of voters and democracy. Can the government do so or is it asking too much from the politicians?

The author is an Indian Army veteran. Views expressed are personal.

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