TODAY -

Manipur Nationhood and IOA deliberated
Source: The Sangai Express

Imphal, August 11 2017: A discourse on Manipur Nationhood and Instrument of Accession (IOA), 1947 was held today at the State Guest House under the aegis of Coalition for Indigenes' Rights Campaign (CIRCA) .

The discourse was organised as a part of the CIRCA's campaign for restoration of pre-merger political status of Manipur.

Social activist Ningthouja Lancha, MU South East Asian Studies Research Associate Dr Kangujam Sanatomba and Dr Sapam Dilip spoke at the discourse which was moderated by senior Advocate Sarat Arambam.

Many scholars, students and leaders of different civil society organisations too attended the discourse.

Ningthouja Lancha said that Manipur became independent from British colonial rule on August 14, 1947 .

Three days before Manipur was granted independence, then Viceroy of India Louis Mountbatten signed an Instrument of Accession with Manipur king Maharaj Bodhachandra on August 11, 1947.The IOA said that Manipur's defence, external affairs and communications would be controlled by the Government of India which clearly indicated that Manipur had lost half of her.

independence through the agreement, Lancha said.

The IOA was signed at the persistent insistence of Jawaharlal Nehru and Sardar Vallabhai Patel.

Then'the Standstill Agreement was signed on July 2, 1947 .

Quoting Article 6 of the IOA, Lancha said that no part of Manipur's territory should be bought, occupied or transferred even if it became a part of India.

If the same Article is complied with today, purchase of land by non-local people can be checked very easily, Lancha opined.

Article 7 of IOA said that the Constitution of India, even if one was enacted, must not encompass Manipur.

And Article 8 said that India should hot do anything which threatens the internal sovereignty of Manipur or its territorial integrity.

From 1947 to 1949, Manipur was an independent country which had its own Constitution.

However, after the Manipur Merger Agreement was signed on September 21, 1949, Manipur lost its sovereignty completely.

The Instrument of Accession was overridden by the Manipur Merger Agreement because there is a norm that the latest agreement should be adhered to.

But Maharaj Bodhachandra was forced to sign the Manipur Merger Agreement under duress.

According to international conventions, treaties/agreements signed under duress must be treated as null and void, Ningthouja Lancha said.

Any campaign for restoration of Manipur's pre-merger political status cannot overrule the Instrument of Accession, he added.

Dr K Sanatomba opined that IOA can be used as a tool for resolving Manipur-India conflict.

Whereas the Government of India has often made it clear that it would never compromise the sovereignty and integrity of the cduntry, the insurgents have declared that they would stop at nothing short of independence.

This has resulted in a seeming irreconcilable conflict between the two sides.

If the people are ever given an opportunity to resolve this conflict, IOA can be taken up for reference.

When people stand in between the two conflicting parties, a path to reconciliation can be paved based on IOA, Dr Sanatomba said.

If separate provisions are incorporated into the Constitution of India based on IOA, many issues including the issue of insurgency can be resolved, he added.


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