Major David Manlun KC

Gallantry ran in the family (1985-2017)

Major Manlun was born on 27 July 1985 in Imphal, Manipur. His father, Subedar Khamzalam served in 5 Assam Regiment and retired in 1912. While the father moved around, the mother Ms Mampi lived in Shillong to educate the children.

Major David Manlun`s family is from the Zou tribe in a village called Beihang (Churachandpur district) on the India-Myanmar border. His elder brother is serving with the Army and sister is married to an Army officer Lt Col Newton.

An athlete and a keen footballer, Major David Manlun took interest in sports from his childhood and represented his team at various levels. He was proficient in many languages that among Hindi, English and mother tongue Zou included Mizo, Kuki and Paite. David finished his schooling from Army Public School, Shillong and graduated from St Anthony’s College Shillong in 2006. Undeterred by the two failures for the entrance test for the army, he succeeded in the third attempt. In 2009, he joined the Officer Training Academy, Chennai. In March 2010 he was commissioned into the 1st Battalion of the Naga Regiment and joined the battalion at Naugam in Jammu and Kashmir. He served there for next two years and took part in a number of operations.

David would often give up breaks to not miss the opportunity of taking part in missions. He received warning of posting to 164 Infantry Battalion TA (NAGA) in 2014. He was awarded with the Chief of Army Staff Commendation in recognition of his exemplary service on 15 August 2016. He then opted for deputation to National Security Guard for which the probation was to begin on 23 Jun 2017.

The ULFA (United Liberation Front of Asom), a terrorist organisation, founded in 1979 had been mounting attacks since the eighties. It had support from China and had training camps near Myanmar border. It forged links with another terrorist organization, National and Social Council of Nagaland-Khapaland (NSCN-K). In June 2015, NSCN-K had ambushed an Army convoy in Manipur in which 18 soldiers were massacred. On receiving intelligence reports about the presence of militants in the Lappa area, close to the Myanmar border, the security forces decided to launch a joint operation on 07 June 2017. Major David led the mission. The team was trying to establish a mobile check post to intercept the militants reported to be travelling in two auto-rickshaws. Shortly after 10 pm, the two vehicles emerged and on being asked to stop, sped up a nearby hill. As the militants opened fire, David was hit by a bullet and a grenade splinter. He ordered his men to stay behind the vehicles. Crawling within ten metres, he used the last bit of energy to kill the three terrorists at point blank range before martyrdom took him.

Inspired by his heroics, his troops successfully counter attacked the militants and recovered huge quantity of arms and ammunition. Major David displayed courage and leadership of a very high calibre and proved his mettle as a dedicated and committed soldier.

His supreme sacrifice is an “amazing profile” of a family from a remote corner of the country and their service to the nation. It is a touching story of the many sacrifices made by the parents that went into creating this brave-heart. It was heart-rending to see him die when he had much more to offer to the country. His void will never be filled and he will remain an inspiration forever.

When the sad news was broken to Ms Mampi, her first reaction was “please don’t cry”. Despite the cruel twist of destiny did to her years of toiling she put up a brave front.

He was awarded Kirti Chakra (KC) for conspicuous personal bravery. On 27 March 2018, the medal was handed over to his father by the President of India. The Army unveiled a memorial bust of David in Shillong.

Brigadier Suresh Chandra Sharma (retd.)

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