Manipuri child ‘activist’ Licypriya Kangujam shot to limelight in past few days for ‘turning down’ government of India’s ‘#SheInspiresUs’ movement honour on Twitter because she did not ‘want to be celebrated if PM Modi was not going to listen to her’.
Dear @narendramodi Ji,
Please don’t celebrate me if you are not going to listen my voice.
Thank you for selecting me amongst the inspiring women of the country under your initiative #SheInspiresUs. After thinking many times, I decided to turns down this honour. ??
Jai Hind! pic.twitter.com/pjgi0TUdWa
— Licypriya Kangujam (@LicypriyaK) March 6, 2020
Soon she was used by Modi detractors to attack the PM.
PM Modi’s lip service & hypocrisy towards women empowerment has been called out by the brave environmental activist, Licypriya Kangujam. After rejecting his offer, she reminded the PM that listening to her voice is more important than any Twitter campaignhttps://t.co/miWXWJgSbP
— Congress (@INCIndia) March 7, 2020
‘Woke’ comedians also huddled up to develop sudden respect for Licypriya.
— Sahil Shah ?? (@SahilBulla) March 6, 2020
Congress supporters who have been accused of violence in Uttar Pradesh’s anti-CAA riots also hailed her.
That’s the spirit we need…God bless sweetheart https://t.co/S0iYeTQnQG
— Sadaf Jafar (@sadafjafar) March 7, 2020
Other Congress leaders, too, hailed her and claimed that this 8-year-old inspires them.
— Manish Tewari (@ManishTewari) March 7, 2020
Ocean of fake news, BBC even profiled Licypriya after she turned down ‘SheInspiresUs’ honour but conveniently failed to mention that it may be an elaborate fraud created by her father, unfortunately using his young daughter as a bait.
Except, last night, former National General Secretary of Congress’ students’ wing, National Students Union of India (NSUI), Angellica Aribam took to Twitter to reveal how Licypriya was made into a celebrity over fake claims of achievements.
I thought of ignoring this but since everyone seems to be interested in @LicypriyaK, let me indulge you.
Last April, 7yo Licypriya Kangujam claimed to be on her way to the UN headquarters in Geneva to address a ‘global UN session’ for ‘Disaster Risks Reduction’ (1/n)
— Angellica Aribam (@AngellicAribam) March 7, 2020
Aribam mentioned that in April 2019, Licypriya claimed that she was on her way to UN headquarters in Geneva to address a ‘global UN session’ for ‘Disaster Risk Reduction’. The news was widely reported and Licypriya was congratulated on social media for ‘making India proud’. Except, it turned out to be fake. After Imphal Free Press uncovered that not only was she not invited to the UN but her father was also reported to be an alleged conman.
An investigation by Imphal Free Press revealed that her entire ‘UN invite’ was a sham and a cooked up story by her father, Kangujam Kanarjit. IFP got suspicious over the news item since when they investigated the claims, the UN event showed that registration for delegates was still on and the names of speakers wasn’t confirmed yet. Hence, Licypriya’s claims that she is going to address the session was already on thin ice.
Licypriya claimed to be working as a “Child Disaster Risks Reduction Advocate in International Youth Committee (IYC)” which did not have much internet presence. IFP got hold of a press release on the basis of which this news report was published. The press release was issued by IYC that had no specific address and the pin code corresponded to Safdarjung area in New Delhi. The address was partial and IFP had little success in tracing. However, soon enough the search result showed that the IYC chairman was one Dr KK Singh. The Dr KK Singh was Kangujam Kanarjit, who IFP had exposed as a conman back in 2015. As per IFP, Kangujam Kanarjit, was a man behind the Global Youth Summit and World Youth Summit held at Imphal and is charged of cheating and fraud. He has been accused by several businessmen of duping them.
Kanarjit has been accused of cheating multiple people, with amounts as high as Rs 19 lakh. In 2015, he was arrested in Manipur with charges of criminal case number 176 of 2015 under Section 420 (Fraud), 324 (Assault) and 406 (Criminal breach of trust). As per investigation by IFP, a place he had rented in Porompat and carried out his clandestine activities under the Club 25 banner was allegedly sold to three different individuals without the knowledge of the real owner. Kanarjit was later released on an interim bail and has been an absconder since.
When the story of Licypriya attending UN event broke, eyebrows were raised as the source of her attending an event at UN in Geneva was routed through IYC, which has a history of fraud, dubious and shady work. Soon after the IFP investigation, the story quietly disappeared. Later, in a now deleted Facebook post, Licypriya wrote that she has ‘decided’ not to attend the UN event in Geneva. “Finally I decided not to attend the program in Geneva next month as I am completely in depression. Even my visa and flight tickets was ready. This is not the way to treat your “Ningol” [daughter]” she reportedly wrote on Facebook.
She accused IFP of being ‘paid media’ and ‘killing her career’ by spreading lies about her in the name of her father. However, after her Facebook post, when EastMojo, Northeast India-based news webstie, crosschecked Licypriya’s claims of attending the UN event as a speaker. Stephanie Speck, Chief, Communications, Advocacy, Knowledge Management and ICT, United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction confirmed to EastMojo that Licypriya was not supposed to attend the event as a speaker.
The citizen engagement platform of Government of India hailed her ‘achievements’ and said that Licipriya has been awarded one ‘Dr APJ Abdul Kalam Children Award’ and one ‘World Children Peace Prize’ and an ‘India Peace Prize’. Journalist Chitra Ahanthem, who was part of the team investigating for IFP story, said that the Dr APJ Abdul Kalam Award in all possibility a fraud award as well.
The buzz word is the APJ Kalam award… If you check, it was handed over by ‘Khwaab Foundation’. Check it up and there no online footprints of this group
— Chitra Ahanthem (@ChitraAhanthem) March 7, 2020
In July 2019, she was awarded one “Dr APJ Abdul Kalam Award” by one Munna Kumar, founder of Khwaab Foundation.
@LicypriyaK is an child environmental activist from Manipur. In 2019, she was awarded a Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam Children Award, a World Children Peace Prize, and an India Peace Prize. Isn’t she inspiring?
Do you know someone like her? Tell us, using #SheInspiresUs . pic.twitter.com/bJLEDIwfpH
— MyGovIndia (@mygovindia) March 5, 2020
However, Aribam pointed out that the 8-year-old is used by her father (Licypriya’s Twitter profile shows that her account is managed by a guardian).
This is not the first time children have been used to fool media by making fake claims. In 2019 itself, one Tanmoy Chakraborty had claimed he was invited by NASA to be part of a competition. However, his claims were questioned by one NASA hydrologist, Manabendra Saharia who said that the NASA ‘certificate’ Chakraborty was showing off was fraudulent.
In 2005, one Saurav Singh from Uttar Pradesh had claimed to have topped NASA competitive exams which was eventually denied by NASA.
Climate change activism is the latest buzzword and with child ‘activists’ being propped by parents and organisations, it is only a matter of time before more such fake ‘achievers’ become the voice of the generation.