TODAY -

CorCom salutes martyrs, war heroes-I
Source: The Sangai Express

Imphal, April 22 2019: On the occasion of Khongjom Day (April 23), the CorCom has paid rich tributes to martyrs and war heroes who laid down their lives in different battles between the kingdom of Manipur (Kangleipak) and the British empire.

It is a matter of pride for the present generation to pay tributes to those heroes who fought against the mighty British forces with extraordinary valour even though they were far outnumbered and the invading forces were far more resourceful, said CorCom.

"We survive today because our forefathers sacrificed their lives to defend the Nation's freedom", according to a statement issued by CorCom media coordinator LeibaakNgaakpa Luwang.

The statement also gives an account of how infighting among Manipuri princess gave a perfect opportunity for the British empire to interfere in the internal affairs of Manipur which subsequently led to the beheading of five British officers including Assam Chief Commissioner JW Quinton and British Political Agent C Grimwood on March 25, 1891.Soon after, the British empire declared war against Manipur and the kingdom was brought under British empire.

Even though the Anglo-Manipur War was a short one, it created widespread repercussions and attracted sharp attention from across the world.

It even sparked heated debates in both the Houses of British Parliament.

As such, one needs to understand the political status of Manipur just before the kingdom was brought under the control of British empire.

Manipur was a sovereign, independent kingdom and this fact was glaringly reflected in several international treaties including those signed between the British empire and the Burmese empire.

For the first time, Manipur established military and trade relationship with the British empire by signing the Treaty of Alliance in 1762.The Treaty of Yandaboo signed between the British empire and the Burmese empire recognised the sovereignty of Manipur anew.

The Pemberton Report of 1835 identified Manipur as a sovereign Asiatic State located between Assam and Burma.

The Calcutta High Court too acknowledged Manipur (Kangleipak) as an Asiatic sovereign power in two separate cases in 1865 and 1867.R Brown's Statistical Account of Manipur too says that Manipur once again became an independent Nation after the Burmese War.

The British Parliament passed the Indian Independence Act in 1947 by which two new countries namely India and Pakistan were created in August same year.

Section 7(1) (b) of the Indian Independence Act kept India and Manipur on an equal juridical plane and Manipur's sovereignty was restored.

The Manipur Constitution Act came into force on August 14, 1947 and Manipur became an independent democratic country, the CorCom asserted.

In the long history of Manipur, there was no connection between Manipur and India which was created by British colonial rulers in 1947.Yet, the Standstill Agreement and the Instrument of Accession signed on August 11, 1947 and the contentious Merger Agreement signed on September 21, 1949 project a picture that India and Manipur shared certain relations.

But all these agreements have no legal validity from the perspective of international law.

The Standstill Agreement and the Instrument of Accession signed by British Protectorate Manipur and British colony India on August 11, 1947 have no validity when viewed from the perspective of international law because the king of Manipur (Bodhchandra) which was then a British Protectorate had no authority to sign any agreement before the Indian Independence Act came into force.

Likewise, India, being a colony of British empire at that time, had no authority to sign any agreement with any other country.

The Standstill Agreement as well as the Instrument of Accession have no legal validity as per articles 6, 7 and 8 of the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties (VCLT), 1969.Moreover, all the agreements/undertakings made between British (India) Government and princely States lost all their legal validity once the Indian Independence Act came into force on July 18, 1947, it asserted.


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