As environmental child activist Licypriya Kangujam is doing yeoman service by providing oxygen concentrators to those in needs. On the flip side, her father Kangujam Kanarjit at present is wanted by the police on charges of cheating and fraud
By Paojel Chaoba
When India is gasping for oxygen following the second wave of the convid-19 pandemic, reports of environmental child activist Licypriya Kangujam buying oxygen concentrators from her own savings to stem the country’s oxygen crisis have taken social media by storm. Many heaped praises on her Good Samaritan work at this critical juncture.
However, some have a sneaking suspicion that fugitive conman Kangujam Kanarjit is the brain behind the whole act. They have alleged that Licypriya is under the tutelage of a criminal father whose sole objective is to swindle people.
Child rights activists Montu Ahanthem and Keisam Pradipkumar voiced their concern that a child needs proper care and protection and should be free from criminal elements which may hinder the mental and emotional growth of a child.
After this reporter had exposed a criminal mastermind and conman named Kangujam Kanarjit back in 2015, this is another report after six years which again highlights his criminal activities perpetrated in the name of providing help to the public — possibly by using his daughter.
This report does not attempt to tarnish the name and image of the child but focuses on stating the facts and the criminality behind her father’s actions and the IYC cartel. It is rather to voice concern for Licypriya and to see that justice is also done to her and to her chosen career and not one- which may be forced on her.
Who is Kangujam Kanarjit, alias Dr KK Singh?
Kanarjit specializes in forging documents, forging signatures and presenting a larger than life image of himself. He traveled back then in a white Maruti 1000 car with a flag post claiming that he is representative of the United Nations, his jacket also displayed a number of badges which he adorned all the time. His modus operandi is to collect funds and fees from national and international students in the name of organising youth meets and other seminars, relief for earthquake victims and the list goes on. Back in 2015, he had organised a conference at Imphal East City Convention Centre and around 400 people, including representatives from Nepal, Bangladesh, Bhutan etc, attended this conference.
He had promised to pay allowances to the visiting foreign students which were not paid. He also did not clear the dues owed to the local suppliers and contractors for the food and lodgings, photography, videography and souvenir making for the conference. It was at this time that some of those persons who had not been paid approached this reporter with a complaint that they had been swindled. Later, a series of reports were published starting May 24, 2015 on the pages of the Imphal Free Press highlighting his criminal activities. He had claimed that he would be given an award of a Global Youth Icon along with child activist Malala Yousafzai. He had told a vernacular that Aung San Suu Kyi and Arnold Schwarzenegger will be attending in his next conference. His claims never happened and his award was cancelled after the expose.
He had collected 40 per cent from the suppliers and contractors as an advance deposit and said that the money owed to them would be given out shortly after the convention concluded. Rather than giving out the liabilities, he did not even give back the deposited amount and several charges of cheating were filed against him with the police. One of his most daring criminal offenses was when he sold off a building where he was staying as a tenant. The rented building was housing the Club 25 International (a blood donation organisation) office near Porompat crossing at a ground plus one floor building near the roadside. He had managed to get the documents of the property from the owner on the pretext that he needed them as sanction was to be released from an international agency for paying the rent.
After he failed to clear his rent dues, he vacated the office in late 2015. The owner of the building was taken aback when some persons came to inspect the building and told the real owner that the building was bought by them. The stunned owner had filed a case and registered a report to the police bearing report number 25(1) 2016 PRT under section 120-B/418/419/465/468/474 of the Indian Penal Code. Police sources stated that Kanarjit had sold the building on the sly by manipulating documents in the Settlement department. He had brought an unidentified woman to pose as the wife of the real owner, under whose name the property was registered. On top of that it was found out that he had sold the property to not only one person but to two individuals. As per a source, one buyer was from Kakhulong and another from Haobam Marak.
Later, Kanarjit was arrested by Porompat police on January 4, 2016 following a complaint lodged by one S Krishnadutta Sharma of Khongman Mangjil. Sharma was a caterer and had provided food for the Global Youth Meet held from February 20 to 25, 2014. His outstanding bill was Rs 19,76,120, which was not cleared by Kanarjit.
This reporter published five articles back then under the headlines, “Global Youth Icon or ‘Con’ Icon, May 25 edition under “ Youth Icon alleges Nasir of ‘unbecoming conduct’ to women delegates during Youth Summit”, May 26 edition with the headline, “UP girl denies minister’s misconduct; Kanarjit charged of illegally operating Club-25 International”, on May 28 as “Youth Icon cheated local businessmen, victimized foreign delegates” and finally on May 31 edition carried “ Global Youth Icon Award cancelled.”
Afterwards he fled from Manipur and the Chief Judicial Magistrate of Imphal East announced Kanarjit as an absconder on April 25, 2016 on criminal case number 37 of 2015 charged under section 406/417/420/427/120-B/120-A/107/34.
After the lull and a six year old girl emerges:
After Kanarjit fled Manipur, he started his organisation again in Delhi as per his last webpage address. His last known residence was at Odisha and he travels under the name KK Singh in his passport. Kanarjit had fled with his family, including wife and daughter. His daughter is no other than Licypriya Kangujam.
Licypriya started advocating against climate change in July 2018. On 21 June 2019 inspired by the climate activist Greta Thunberg, Licypriya started spending a week outside the Indian Parliament House to draw the attention of Prime Minister Narendra Modi . Kanarjit’s daughter then took centre stage by posing with a pamphlet advocating against climate change.
Licypriya Kangujam, the nine-year-old girl from Manipur who rose to fame by campaigning for changes in climate change law, has also been accused of faking her achievements. She, however, denies the allegations, according to a report in The Print.
Several journalists and activists have also alleged that several of the awards she has been conferred with — including the “Peace Award” by the Global Peace Index — were actually handed out by organisations her father is associated with. The award was handed to her by Charles Allen, the Executive director of Institute for Economics & Peace, in a ceremony in the Maldives. It later came to light that the same award was not conferred by the globally respected agency but that it’s Executive Director was invited to hand over the prize at the ceremony which was hosted by an NGO whose head was also a member of the NGO that her father fronted which is International Youth Conference (IYC).
In April 2019, the International Youth Conference (IYC), an organisation chaired by Karnajit, put out a press release saying Licypriya had been invited to speak at a global UN session on “Disaster Risks Reduction”. An article in East Mojo, however, found that she was not invited to speak at the event, though she did attend it. It must be mentioned that attending an International Conferences including those at the level of the UN is not entirely difficult: all one needs is to pay the registration fees and provide credentials that link you to agencies and organizations that are interested or work upon the topic that is under discussion. Being invited as a Speaker or Panelist at an International Conference is entirely a different nature. The same year, she was projected as being awarded the ‘Dr APJ Kalam Children Award’. A simple fact checking will show that there is only one ‘Dr APJ Kalam Award’ instituted by the Government of Tamil Nadu given in recognition of contributions on scientific development, humanities and students’ welfare and there is no listing of the child activist. The illustrious sounding name ‘Dr APJ Kalam Children Award’ hides the fact that it was conferred by Khwaab Foundation. Interestingly, the founder of Khwaab Foundation, Shri Munna Kumar was also Treasurer with IYC. Currently, there is no digital footprint of IYC as the web site has been taken down. Licypriya also tweeted that she was included in the Forbes 30 under 30 list of India but her name is not on the list.
Sources also claimed that her tweets and facebook account are handled by her father and the replies and updates are mostly done by him. People also question why aside from e-mail and facebook messenger Licypriya does not have a contact number, where she goes to school and which grade she is in, what is her address and what is her family doing for a living outside. Mostly, why her parents are not coming out openly as their daughter is a globally renowned child activist and why the cloak and dagger stuff? People also question how a kid can write such elaborate ‘mature’ texts on social media. Sources said that it is her father who usually handles all her uploads and messages and leads to the possibility that Kanarjit is firing from her daughter Lycipriya’s shoulder.
Accolades to Licypriya Kangujam
Recently, reports of Licypriya Kangujam buying oxygen concentrators from her own savings to stem the country’s oxygen crisis following the second wave of Covid-19. Licypriya, in a tweet on April 29, said that ten oxygen concentrators will reach India in the next few days and that she has ordered a total of 100 concentrators from her savings.
She also urged people to donate and save thousands of lives being lost due to shortage of oxygen through a fund drive on Ketto which has amassed Rs 71 lakh as of now. She has been doing a Good Samaritan work with her team in aiding those who need oxygen during this Covid second wave. At the same time, she has also sent some oxygen concentrators to Manipur and some families who are suffering from Covid and the public has shown their gratitude. However, it is only up to her and her team to select the beneficiaries and she said that she will not coordinate with any local NGO or with state authorities for distribution. The last oxygen concentrator was given on request of a Manipuri film star turned politician who later handed it over to a local club. No Covid-infected person has been identified to receive the concentrator since then.
In another facebook update, on May 17 last, she said in Meiteilon (local language) that, “A hundred oxygen cylinders are ready at Delhi en route for Manipur. We are waiting for clearance for the transport, it will reach Imphal soon, I have sought purchase terms for some cylinders from China and it may take 15 days,” she posted.
The photo of the cylinders she uploaded is identical and looks cropped from a photo of IANS and a report carried by DNA web team on May 6 under the headline, “ Delhi Covid-19 news: Patients in home isolation can get oxygen cylinders, here’s how to apply.”
The identical photo is doing the rounds in social media and netizens have started questioning the authenticity of her photo and claims of transporting a hundred cylinders. It may be pointed out that an individual cannot purchase oxygen cylinders directly. Hence, bringing again on the topic is whether Kanarjit is cropping and sending updates to confuse people on her daughter’s page.
Kanarjit is notorious at cropping images and doctoring documents. He had doctored a document signed by a relative of his relative who was a government official notifying that dues owed to the 2015 suppliers will be cleared. As the date approached and dues were not cleared, the suppliers and local businessmen thronged the house of his relative saying that he had signed on the notice promising to clear dues. The short signature was found to be upside down on the notice, as Kanarjit had cropped the signature of his relative and he did not verify properly the signature dynamics of his relative.
Probe on into Nepali national’s complaint against Karnajit
Following a complaint lodged by a Nepali national through Indian Embassy in Nepal, Imphal East police registered a case in April this year under case (number 86(4)2021 PRT PS) under sections 406/420/468/34/ of the Indian Penal Code. The investigation is presently underway.
Nepali national Prajesh Khanal , who was recognized as “Global’s 20 under 20” in 2017, accused Karnajit of duping him of Rs 30,000 on the pretext of organising a youth exchange programme through IYC. He wrote to the Embassy of India in Nepal to take “strict legal action against Karnajit and his NGO, International Youth Committee (IYC) to ensure that no youths are forced to be victimised by such cheats”.
On February 16, 2021, the Under Secretary (Nepal section), Ministry of External Affairs (Northern Division), Government of India, Santosh Mehmi issued an office memo to ascertain the facts and to take action deemed appropriate. It has now emerged that Karnajit had duped youth activists across the world under the promise of registration and participation of ‘Global Conferences’ and ‘Summits’. His organisation IYC main objective is to organise crowd funding for different crises affecting the public and along environmental lines.
Police said, “Investigation is on. A manhunt for Karnajit will be launched soon.”