TODAY -

Emerging manifestation of armed violence and nationalism as reflected in Manipuri literature
- Part 2 -

H. Ibotombi Khuman *



Narratives by the Non-State Armed Insurgent Groups in Manipur

As per the press release and handouts issued by the armed revolutionary groups to media from time to time, it consistently maintained that they are not separatists, but they are waging armed movement for the regaining of lost independence and lost sovereignty of Manipur, which led to conflict situation between two nations.

The issue of armed conflict cannot be solved militarilyIt should be solved with the involvement of credible and impartial third party mediator, like the United Nations' Organisation (UNO). The issue cannot be taken lightly as simply a 'law and order' problem.

It is worth mentioning for knowing together that, the Merger Agreement of Manipurto India, 1949 was signed under duress and coercion. It, therefore, cannot be a valid legal document and should be taken as a clear case of annexation.

The lucid example of it is the telegraphed letter on 18 September 1949 by Shri Prakasha to Sardar Patel proving beyond doubt that Maharaja Bodhchandra was kept in house arrest before the signing of merger Agreement.

The Maharaja who signed the agreement was only a nominal and titular head and the Government of India was represented by the Dominion Government. So, there arises the logical question of whether the Dominion Government can represent the GoI in signing the said agreement.

In the book, 'Annexation of Manipur 1949', it was very categorically mentioned that Manipur was annexed at gunpoint.

The National Convention on Merger Issue (28-29 October 1993) held at Gandhi Memorial Hall, Imphal after two days deliberations and threadbare discussions, considered the socio-political process and the constitutional-legal process that prevailed at the time when Manipur State Constitution Act, 1947 was in operation and popular responsible government with an elected people's legislative assembly was constitutionally functioning prior to the signing of Manipur Merger Agreement on 21 September 1949 in between Manipur's constitutional figurehead, the Maharaja and the representative of the Dominion of India.

In its concluding day, it took the resolution jointly signed by Gangmumei Kamei (Eminent Historian), Dr. N. Ibobi (First Ph.D of Political Science in Manipur), Dr. N. Sanajaoba (Faculty of Law, Gauhati University), resolving that the Manipur Merger Agreement signed by and between the Maharaja of Manipur and the representative of the Dominion of the Government of on the 21st September 1949 did not have any legality and constitutional validity.

In the case of Sikkim, a plebiscite was conducted on 16th May, 1975 at a time Sikkim merged to India. But in the case of Manipur when it merged to India, it not only bypassed the people but also the duly democratically elected Manipur legislative Assembly.

Even the decisions taken by the assembly were not honoured. The armed struggle of Manipur launched to regain its pre-merger status had been continuing for more than 60 long years. Considering it, the 'Fourth World'1 Status of Manipur should be acknowledged and be given due formal recognition. Why because, Manipur was an Asiatic sovereign quite before the Anglo-Manipuri War of 1891.

The Treaty of Yandaboo signed in 1826 recognised Manipur as an independent country. In the year 1865, British Government prosecuted one Keifa Singh at Cachar for having committed an offence against the Manipur Raja.

This case furnishes evidence of the fact that the British Government in prosecuting, and English Courts in convicting the prisoners have dealt with Manipur as an Asiatic sovereign power [N. Sanajaoba, 1998: 428].

When Jammu and Kashmir merged to India in 1949, the Constituent Assembly of India incorporated Article 370 which gives special autonomous status to Jammu and Kashmir under part XXI of the Indian Constitution.

In the case of Manipur, one Guha from Tripura represented Manipur in the Constituent Assembly of India and have said nothing about the Constitutional protection that will ensure the legacy of continuing tradition of self-governance in the eventuality or any likelihood of Manipur becoming an integral part of India.

While signing the Merger Agreement of Manipur to India, apart from appeasing Maharaja by giving some personal entitlements and privy benefits, nothing substantial was talked and discussed about the future political fate of Manipur. Consequently, when Manipur merged to India, Manipur became its integral part with a very low political status as a Part C State.2

The history of Kangleipak Manipur stands as solid testimony to the utmost concern for the native soil and the selfless sacrifice displayed by our brave fore-fathers. In its foregone days, Manipur had experienced many tumultuous times past including the 'Seven Years devastation (1719-26) following Burmese Aggression and Anglo-Manipuri war of 1891.

In both the occasions, our forefathers, in order to protect the freedom of the land have sacrificed and shed their sweat and blood at the cost of their life without any concern for personal safety. However, in the case of merger of Manipur to India in 1949, Manipur was annexed without any bloodshed by deceit and treachery due to the involvement of local collaborators.

Today's generation cannot just remain mute for the treacherous and deceitful event of merger merely by just repenting. So for the posterity to come, it is duty-bound for them that they are conscientiously waging the armed uprising to restore and regain the lost sovereignty and independence of Manipur.

To be continued...


* H. Ibotombi Khuman wrote this article which was published at Imphal Times
This article was webcasted on June 07 2019.



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