UPF, AMKIL highlight post-Merger challenges
Source: The Sangai Express

Imphal, September 21 2019: The United People's Front (UPF) and the Apunba Manipur Kanba Ima Lup (AMKIL) have underscored the growing need for unity among all the indigenous communities of the State to face the challenges being faced by every community after Manipur was merged into the Indian Union.

A public discussion programme was held today on the topic 'Merger Agreement, 1949, Manipur and India' at Iboyaima Shumang Leela Shanglen, Konung Mamang.

Speaking at the programme, UPF president W Second said that the bond of unity shared among different communities of the State has been growing weaker and weaker since Manipur was merged into the Indian Union.

UPF, AMKIL highlight post-Merger challenges
UPF, AMKIL highlight post-Merger challenges

Moreover, the identities of indigenous people are being diluted day by day while the State's economy has been taken under total control of non-local people, Second remarked.

Manipur once existed as a proud, sovereign Nation in South East Asia.

But if one looks at the downfall of Manipur in the aftermath of its merger into the Indian Union, it is highly questionable whether Manipur is independent or not, he said.

Notwithstanding the multi-storeyed buildings and costly cars seen at Imphal city and adjoining areas, Manipur is still reeling under sheer underdevelopment.

At the same time, identities, cultural heritage and traditions of all indigenous communities are being diluted and obliterated beyond recognition, he lamented.

The degenerated situation of Manipur is an outcome of Government of India's divide and rule policy and incessant influx of non-local people.

Given these realities, it is highly questionable whether the people of Manipur are really free or not, Second said.

Associate Professor Dr Haobam Indrakumar of Modern College said that the Manipur Merger Agreement 1949 is unique as compared to merger agreements signed between GoI and other princely States in 1949 .

The Manipur Merger Agreement signed between India's Governor General and Maharaja Bodhchandra contains nine articles which must be upheld by both the parties.

However, as the Government of India has not been upholding the articles, Manipur is being denied several benefits to which it is entitled.

As such, it is a right of the people of Manipur to demand the benefits guaranteed by the Merger Agreement, Dr Indrakumar said.

New Delhi never took up any bold action when Manipur lost its border areas to a neighbouring country.

At the same, there is an apprehension that Manipur may lose vast areas of its territories as a result of GoI's attempt to resolve one issue pertaining to Nagaland, he pointed out.

He also highlighted the crucial importance of analysing the Manipur Merger Agreement, Standstill Agreement and the Instrument of Accession in the context of the State's present political status.

It would also do well for academicians, intellectuals and legal experts to study if there is any loophole or lapses in the Manipur Merger Agreement, Indrakumar said.

He also suggested that whatever practical findings obtained from today's discussion programme may be sent to the Government of India.

IGNTU Assistant Professor Homen Thangjam remarked that Manipur is one of the few States of India where President's Rule had been imposed for maximum number of times.

Whereas a large number of people have been killed by security forces under the impunity guaranteed by AFSPA, people of Manipur are yet to enjoy the freedom of expression in the real sense of the term.

In the meantime, the Government of India has been making all efforts to exploit the natural resources of Manipur in the name of development.

Given these realities, it would not be any exaggeration to say that Manipur's political and economic security is under serious threat, Dr Homen said.

AMKIL president Ph Sakhi pointed out that the Merger Agreement was not signed with due consent of the people of Manipur.

Contrary to some people's expectation that Manipur would prosper after its merger with India, Manipur has been suffering extreme misery since the merger, she said.

By imposing the infamous AFSPA for decades without any interruption, Government of India only exposes its sectarian attitude towards the people of Manipur, Sakhi decried.

Senior journalist A Mobi too spoke at the discussion programme.

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