See For Yourself, Says Manipur BJP MLA Rajkumar Imo Singh Amid Row Over Congress’s Deleted Video

The Manipur Congress holds a press conference on the row over the video


A video uploaded on the Congress party’s official YouTube channel ‘INC TV’ has become the latest flashpoint between the BJP and the Congress in Manipur.

In the now-deleted video, the Congress’s former Manipur in-charge Bhakta Charan Das alleged the state BJP created “two special forces like the RSS and the Bajrang Dal… One is Arambai Tenggol, and the other is called Meitei Leepun.”

“What are these organisations?” Mr Das said, referring to the two controversial organisations, and comparing them with the BJP’s ideological mentor Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS).

Manipur BJP MLA Rajkumar Imo Singh then raised in a public forum the comment made by Mr Das and questioned the Congress over the allegations.

In response, Manipur Congress spokesperson Kh Ratankumar Singh told reporters the BJP MLA referred to a fake video that has been dubbed, in which Mr Das was purportedly heard blaming one community over the ethnic violence in Manipur between the Kuki-Zo tribes and the Meiteis.

In his counterattack, Rajkumar Imo Singh, who is also the son-in-law of Chief Minister N Biren Singh, posted on the microblogging platform ‘X’ the video from the Congress’s official YouTube channel in which Mr Das is heard questioning the ruling BJP in Manipur over alleged links with the two groups.

“Don’t need to say anything regarding this. Check this link of the Congress and see and hear for yourself. Rather than saying you don’t agree with the statement of the central leaders (of Congress), Manipur Congress is saying it’s a fake video. I have nothing to say. It means they are accepting what Bhakta Charan Das is saying,” Rajkumar Imo Singh said in the post which also has a hyperlink to the now-deleted Congress video.

“If the video is wrong, the state Congress should have told its headquarters in Delhi. It should have countered its own party to defend Manipur’s image from being tarnished,” Rajkumar Imo Singh added.

Manipur BJP MLA Rajkumar Imo Singh

Manipur BJP MLA Rajkumar Imo Singh

The state Congress spokesperson later clarified that Mr Das did make the comments on the Arambai Tenggol and Meitei Leepun last year just after the ethnic clashes escalated, adding the fake video to which the Congress is referring to is about Mr Das blaming one community for the violence.

“We won’t lie. Das had said all this last year amid the violence. But bringing up this video now is only propaganda. It is out of context. And Das made the comments in his personal capacity. It was not the party’s official statement,” Kh Ratankumar Singh told reporters in the state capital Imphal.

BJP sources said the state Congress spokesperson’s clarification is bizarre, given that the Opposition has been criticising the Manipur BJP over alleged links with the two groups, and now suddenly the Congress has a change of heart and doesn’t want to criticise the Arambai Tenggol and the Meitei Leepun during election season.

“Why did the Congress remove the authentic YouTube video in which Mr Das is heard commenting on Arambai Tenggol and Meitei Leepun?” a senior BJP leader said, requesting anonymity.

The Arambai Tenggol, or AT, is a Meitei youth group that faces allegations of taking up arms and attacking Kuki-Zo villages. The AT has denied the allegation, and claimed it is only a village defence volunteer group, same as those from the Kuki-Zo tribes who are holed up in bunkers on the hills with sophisticated weapons.

The Meitei Leepun, headed by Pramot Singh, has been in the news for its aggressive stand against the Kuki-Zo tribes, which the group holds responsible for the crisis in Manipur. The Manipur Police had filed a case against Pramot Singh in July 2023 for allegedly promoting enmity between groups and criminal conspiracy.

The Lok Sabha elections will be held for Manipur’s two parliamentary constituencies at a time when 45,000 people are still living in relief camps. Over 210 have died in the violence, which began in May 2023 over a number of reasons, mainly serious disagreements over sharing land, resources, political representation, and affirmative action policies.

The entire Inner Manipur constituency and some areas under Outer Manipur will vote on April 19. The remaining areas under Outer Manipur will vote on April 26. Votes will be counted on June 4. The key candidates are Thounaojam Basanta Kumar Singh (BJP), Angomcha Bimol Akoijam (Congress), and Maheshwar Thounaojam of the Republican Party of India (Athawale).