Dr. Khomdon Lisam
Maharaja of Manipur was invited at Shillong
Mr. Prakasa, Governor of Assam invited Maharaja of Manipur, Bodhchandra to Shillong in September, 1949 for talks as per wishes of the Maharaja. The Maharaja, having full trust in the relationship with India, arrived in Shillong on September 17, 1949 accompanied with his ADC, the Private Secretary and a few household staff members along with some bodyguards.
Forced attempts to get the Merger Agreement signed by Maharaja Bodhchandra
On the first day of the meeting on 18 September, 1949, the Assam Governor straight away placed before the Maharaja an already prepared ‘Merger Agreement’ whereby Manipur would be ‘merged’ with India and asked him to sign the same. The Maharajah had given in writing to the Governor of Assam “I am merely a Constitutional Head of a fully responsible Government under the Constitution Act -1947 approved by the Government of India (British India) and the voice of the Majority is my voice and it shall be constitutionally and legally binding on me not otherwise.” Knowing the Maharaja’s firm stand, Prakasa did not pursue the matter further for the day.
The Maharaja on his return to his Redlands residence where he was staying found Indian Army personnel surrounding the compound of his premises. The house arrest had begun as pre-planned. While under house-arrest, the Maharaja was not allowed to have any communication with the outside world, not to speak to Manipur. When Prakasa ventured to suggest to Sardar Patel that the Maharajah might not agree to sign the merger document. Sardar Patel, who was by then seriously ill, demanded, “No Brigadier in Shillong?” Thus Sardar Patel, India’s ‘Iron Man’ had given green signal to use force should it became necessary in this land of Non-violence of Mahatma Gandhi. Prakasa was firm in his insistence that the Maharaja was asked to sign the ‘agreement’ before going back to Manipur. Thus, after resisting for three restless days and sleepless nights, the Maharaja could not see any escape. Ultimately, he signed the treacherous ‘Merger Agreement’ in a state of helplessness, while still under house-arrest on 21 September, 1949. Under the terms of the “agreement” Manipur comes under Indian rule from 15 October, 1949. Thus the Government of India overthrown the Maharaja and occupied Manipur and became part of India. Thus, the signing of Merger agreement on 21 September, 1949 was done by deceit and forceful tactics contrary to international laws. Even after signing the Instrument of Accession, Manipur did not lose her sovereignty as the Union Government was to look after defense, external affairs and communications. The signing of the Manipur Merger Agreement was therefore between a sovereign state called Manipur and the Government of India. It should therefore free from coercion or force or undue pressure.
Post-Merger Political Status of Manipur
Manipur State Assembly rejected the Merger Agreement
The 4th sitting of the 3rd session of the Manipur State Assembly in its session held at the Johnston School on 28th September, 1949 at 2.30.p.m rejected the “Merger Agreement signed on 21st September 1949” and declared the Merger Agreement invalid as the powers and authorities of Maharaja had been vested with the Manipur State Assembly . The excerpt of the Assembly proceedings was published in the Manipur State Gazette, part IV, dated 14 October 1949. Mr. T.C. Tiankham Speaker, Mr. M. K, Priyobarta Singh, Chief Minister amd 6 other Ministers and 43 Hon’ble members were present and adopted the resolution. The copies of the declaration signed by P.B. Singh, Chief Minister, T.C. Tiankham, Speaker, Arambam Ibungotomcha Singh, Minister of Finance and Foreign Affairs, was sent to the Government of India. But there is no reply from the Government of India on this issue during the last 66 years. It is said that the Kuki Chiefs were greatly disheartened to hear the news and they sent 250 armed warriors to protect the king from any possible attack on the king.
The dissolution of Manipur Assembly was in violation of Independence Act, 1947.
The Indian Independence Act, 1947, para 9(5) states that “No order shall be made under this section, by the Governor of any Province, after the appointed day, or, by the Governor-General, after the thirty-first day of March, nineteen hundred and forty-eight ( 31 March, 1948), or such earlier date as may be determined, in the case of either Dominion,. by “any law of the Legislature of that Dominion.”. However, violating the provisions of the Indian Independence Act, 1947, para 9(5), Shri C. Rajagopalcharry, Governor General of India issued an order on 15-10-1949 declaring that ‘the Ministers’ in Manipur State shall cease to function and ‘the Legislature’ of the State shall stand ‘dissolved’ citing Sections 3 and 4 of the Extra Provincial jurisdiction Act, 1947 (Act XLVII of 1947) . This is in violation of Independence Act, 1947.
Manipur Constitution Act-1947 was never repealed
Once Manipur became part of the India, the Government of India dissolved the State’s Constitution Assembly in October, 1949 without repealing the Manipur Constitution Act-1947. This is another blunder the Government of India placed Manipur as a part C state. This was considered a disgrace to the state and the people of Manipur. Further it was degraded to the status of the Union Territory from 1956 onwards. In 1972, Manipur was elevated to the status of a state after a long and protracted nonviolent, peaceful struggle.
Imposition of Indian Constitution without representation
No Manipuri was included in the Constituent Assembly formed in 1946. Tripura can not represent Manipur. No Manipuri participated in the deliberations of the Constituent Assembly on 26 November, 1948. No referendum was conducted in Manipur regarding introduction of Indian Constitution in Manipur or merger of Manipur with the Indian dominion. Rather the Constitution of India was imposed on Manipur with the forced annexation of Manipur.
Nagaland was raised from village republic to Statehood in 1963
Nagaland was raised from a village republic to Statehood on 1 December, 1963 as a part of appeasement policy of the Government of India towards the Naga underground movement and violent struggle. Manipuris took it as an gross insult to the state and the people of Manipur perpetuated by the Government of India.
States Merger (Chief Commissioners’ Provinces) Order, 1950 was “ultra-vires” and “null and void”
As per the Notification issued by the Government of India, Ministry of Law, dated the 22nd January 1950, paras 1(1) (2), 2(1) the States Merger (Chief Commissioners’ Provinces) Order, 1950 shall come into force only with effect from the 23rd January, 1950, and therefore the State of Manipur should have become administered under a Chief Commissioner only from that date onwards and as such the orders issued by the Ministry of States, New Delhi, dated the 15th October 1949 hurriedly merging Manipur with the Dominion of India and the order issued by the Chief Commissioner, Major General Rawal Amar Singh on 15th October 1949, who was appointed on the same day, ceasing the functioning of the Ministers of the State and dissolving the Manipur Legislative Assembly were clearly “ultra-vires” and “null and void” orders i.e they were illegal and invalid orders issued prior to having the “authority to do so”.
Forced Merger of Manipur was in violation of international law
Maharajah Bodhchandra was made to sign under threat as evidenced from history. Is it not violation of international law to extract agreement between two sovereign countries under threat?
Once Manipur became part of the India, the Government of India dissolved the State’s Constitution Assembly in October, 1949 without repealing the Manipur Constitution Act-1947. This is another blunder the Government of India placed Manipur a part C state. This was considered a disgrace to the state and the people of Manipur. Further it was degraded to the status of the union territory from 1956 onwards. In 1972, Manipur was elevated to the status of a state (or province) after a long and protracted struggle.
India’s silent war of population invasion against Manipur
In 1901, during the British period, Manipur devised a very effective system of controlling the entry of foreigners (Non-Manipruis) called the Permit or Passport system. Indians coming from other parts of India were called foreigners in the terminology of Manipur Administration. This Permit system was brought under the Foreigners Department on 1 November, 1931. If the foreigners wish to visit Manipur, they were required to take permission from the then Durbar and had to pay certain amount of taxes. This Permit or Passport System served two important purposes (1) it controlled and regulated influx of Non-Manipuris (2) it formed an important item of revenue for the state. This Permit system was abolished by Mr. Himmat Singh, the then Chief Commissioner on 18 November, 1950 .The said permit system prohibits any foreigner to acquire or purchase land in Manipur. Although Manipur is 90% hills, the question of implementing Bengal Eastern Frontier Regulation -1973 did not arise since Manipur was a princely state .
The abolition of permit/passport system in Manipur has caused immense damage to the Manipur Society. The illegal migration from across the borders has continued unabated for the last more than 60 years. Today, we have more than 51,000 illegal Bangladeshis scattered all over the state mainly in Borobekra, Serous and hundreds of other villages. We have foreigners like Bangladeshis, Burmese and Nepalese also non-indigenous people from other states in all major and small towns and most of the villages in the valley and hill districts occupying our lands, buildings, snatching away our jobs and eroding our economy affecting our day to day life and peaceful existence. This has caused slow transformation in our mongoloid features, identity and culture. According to 2001 Census, the population of outside migrants in Manipur was 707,488 as against the tribal population of 670,782 (UCM-2005). In Tripura, the percentage of indigenous population was 93 % of the entire population in 1947. By 2001, it has been reduced to 22%. Similar trend is likely to happen in Manipur within a short time. The possibility silent demographic invasion will be more with the arrival of railways, Tipaimukh Dam, more recruitment of Nepalese and South Indians in the Manipur Rifles, IRB, Home Guards and large influx of military and paramilitary organisations . Even today, outsiders are found in all small towns, villages including hill districts. The Khwairamband Bazar is practically controlled by outsiders.
In addition to this, the Government of India is also encouraging foreigners like Bangladeshis and Myanmarese to migrate and settle in Manipur. Manipur’s indigenous population is hardly 0.20 % of India’s population. What will happen to the indigenous population of Manipur if more than two lakhs of people from mainland India starts migrating to Manipur every year? This was what has happened from 1951 onwards till date. Naturally, the indigenous Manipuris will become minority in our own country during the next 20-30 years.
Emergence of insurgency in Manipur
The emergence of insurgency in Manipur is solely due to wrong policies and blunders of the Government of India. Manipur is now the most violent theatre of conflict in the North East region of India. The series of blunders committed by the Government of India is the root cause of conflict between the people of Manipur and the Government of India. The emergence of insurgency in Manipur is formally traced to the emergence of the United National Liberation Front (UNLF) on 24 November 1964. People’s Liberation Army (PLA), founded on September 25, 1978, People’s Revolutionary Party of Kangleipak (PREPAK) set up on October 9, 1977 and the Kangleipak Communist Party (KCP) that came into being in April, 1980. A report of the State Home department in May 2005 indicated that ‘as many as 12,650 cadres of different insurgent outfits with 8830 weapons are actively operating in the State’. The people feel that the birth of insurgency is the making of the Government of India.
India’s racist attack on the people of North East
The Government of India never recognizes Manipuri as at par with that of mainland Indians. We are facing a racial discrimination at the hands of the Government of India as well as at the hands of mainland Indians. Our North East Indian history has never been the history of India. We are forced to learn the mainland Indian history like Akbar, Aurangazeb for many decades by various educational systems in India. . The Government is hell bent to divide the Manipur on the lines of political parties, religion, ethnicity and racism. Racial hatred was stirred by mainland Indians. In the past, racial discrimination was mainly because of different caste and religions. Dalits were subjected to unimaginable discrimination, but no one ever questioned their “Indian-ness”. This is not the case of north easterners. The racism faced by the north east at the hands of the mainland India is of a different order. It is much more “in your face”, because of their different racial appearance, different hair styles, different ethnicity (skin colour and looks, language, cultural indifferences and difficulty in pronouncing names). The north easterners practically had to beg to be accepted as “Indians”.
The north easterners come to realize that they are not Indians. The act of racism and violence against north east Indians are not new. North East Indians are targeted everywhere irrespective of their work, their location, they are targeted in every city, every town every colony, be it Delhi, Chennai or Bhopal or Mumbai or Bangalore. The main reason that drives this insane mentality is how they look different from others and their distinct cultures and traditions. Looking at the physical features, the mainland Indians including political leaders, bureaucrats, and landowners presumed that their IQ must be very low. They are deprived of jobs, promotions, social recognitions, respect and human dignity. This is not surprising considering the fact that they themselves indulged in caste system, honour killing, Sati, dowry deaths, female infanticide etc. It is also known that India ranks in the top of least racial tolerant nations in various international surveys. We have to realize that we are not Indians
Discriminatory provisions of Article 371C of Indian Constitution
The Article 371C of Indian Constitution divides Manipur into Hill and Valley although there are many hillocks in the valley and many valley areas in the hills. Manipur is more than 90% hills. It divides the same Manipuri people from a common ancestor into valley people and Hill people, into Nagas and Meiteis, Kukis and Meiteis. It creates a false sense of superiority among the non-tribal over the tribal. There is no equality of people in Manipur, leading to hatred and conflict situations among the ethnic groups. It divides the same people into Schedule Tribes and General, Schedule Tribes and OBC. It leads to enactment of a discriminatory law. The Manipur Land Revenue and Land Reforms Act, 1960 came into force on 1st June, 1961 vide order no. 140/1/60(vi) dated 31 May, 1961. The Act was passed by Indian Parliament vide bill no. 95-F of 1959 Act, no, 33 of 1960 to make a special provision for protection of Scheduled Tribes under section no. 180. This creates a sense of discrimination against non-tribal leading to disunity, distrust among the ethnic groups in Manipur. This Act encouraged the violent minority to violate the human rights of the sleeping majority. This Act also violates the Article 19(e) of Indian Constitution. The small land area in the valley and Moreh is always open to sale to outsiders threatening the very existence of the Manipuri people. With the arrival of Railways and Look East Policy, the future of Meiteis and hill people of Manipur are in jeopardy.
Declaration of Disturbed Area – Manipur had been declared a ‘disturbed area’ in its entirety in 1980 and the Armed Forces Special Power Act (AFSPA) 1958 was imposed in the State on 8 September, 1980.
Armed Forces Special Power Act (AFSPA)-1958
The British imperialists enacted the inhuman Armed Forces Special Ordinance in 1942 to crush the Indian freedom movement.. The democratic India enacted a much more heinous version called the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) on 22 May, 1958.
According to the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA), in an area that is proclaimed as “disturbed”, an officer of the armed forces has powers
– to fire upon or use other kinds of force even if it causes death, against the person who is acting against law or order in the disturbed area for the maintenance of public order, To arrest without a warrant anyone who has committed cognizable offences or is reasonably suspected of having done so and may use force if needed for the arrest, destroy any arms dump, hide-outs, prepared or fortified position or shelter or training camp from which armed attacks are made by the armed volunteers or armed gangs or absconders wanted for any offence, to enter and search any premise in order to make such arrests, or to recover any person wrongfully restrained or any arms, ammunition or explosive substances and seize it, stop and search any vehicle or vessel reasonably suspected to be carrying such person or weapons, any person arrested and taken into custody under this Act shall be made present over to the officer in charge of the nearest police station with least possible delay, together with a report of the circumstances occasioning the arrest,
-Army officers have legal immunity for their actions. There can be no prosecution, suit or any other legal proceeding against anyone acting under that law. Nor is the government’s judgment on why an area is found to be disturbed subject to judicial review.
-Protection of persons acting in good faith under this Act from prosecution, suit or other legal proceedings, except with the sanction of the Central Government, in exercise of the powers conferred by this Act.
The AFSPA is the mother of all black laws in India. When the Act was legislated in 1958 to ‘combat’ insurgency there was only the Naga movement in the north-east. Over the last 57 years, the Act has been in force, it has only contributed to the rise of more and more insurgent outfits in the region. While parliamentary democracy requires the army to be kept away from the tasks of internal policing and administration, the AFSPA virtually introduces military rule in a democratic garb. Manipur alone has witnessed a series of massacres and ‘disappearances’. The Army itself says that till date it has had to punish 66 of its men in the north-east as they were found guilty of excesses even though it asserts that only 25 of the 451 complaints received were found valid in its internal scrutiny. (Manipur Burning -Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act and Centre’s Apathy -– Krishna Singh T) .
People are asking a simple question to the Hon’blr Prime Minister and the Hon’ble Home Minister of India – why don’t they imposed AFSPA-1958 in Maoist / Naxalites affected states like Bihar, Jharkhand, Orissa, West Bengal, Madhya Pradesh and Andhra Pradesh states. In 2006, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh called the Naxalites the “single biggest internal security challenge ever faced by our country”. In June 2011, he said, “Development is the master remedy to win over people” adding that the government was “strengthening the development works in the 60 Maoist-affected districts. Do they think that the lives of Manipuris are worthless? Immediately after the Malom massacre, one lady called Irom Sharmila has been fasting and on nose feeding for the last fifteen years with a demand for repealing this draconian Act called Armed Forces Special Power Act-1958 (AFSPA) in this land of Gandhiji. The longest fast of Mahatma Gandiji was 21 days. Why the entire India was was shaken when Anna Hazare fasted only for 4-5 five days and there is a deafening silence in India when Irom Sharmila fasted for 15 years. Is it the Indian style of democracy? The Government of India must be thinking that we, Manipuris are expendables.
AFSPA and Unsolved massacres in Manipur
One of the earlier massacres by the forces of the Indian Union was the Heirangoithong massacre in outskirts of Imphal on 14 March 1984, at the Heirangoithong Volleyball Ground following indiscriminate firing by the CRPF personnel stationed nearby resulting in the death of thirteen persons and injuring thirty-one.
The tragic incident that attracted international condemnation was “Operation Bluebird” a months-long protracted counterinsurgency operation in 30 villages in the northern Senapati District of Manipur between July and October 1987 conducted by the Assam Rifles. 15 villagers were killed, women raped. The rebels killed nine soldiers and escaped with 150 guns and 125,000 rounds of ammunition.
Tera Bazar Massacre: 25 March, 1993: Unidentified youth shot at CRPF personnel at Tera Keithel, Imphal which killed 2 CRPF men. Thereafter, the CRPF personnel rushed out and fired indiscriminately. Five civilians were killed and many others received bullet injuries. However, no enquiry has been instituted to date.
In the morning of 7 January 1995, another incident of the extrajudicial execution of nine civilians by the CRPF in Imphal City within the campus of the Regional Medical College (RMC) now renamed the Regional Institute of Medical Sciences (RIMS). As soon as the firing took place, the CRPF personnel reportedly shouted ‘hamara admi ko mara, sab Manipuri ko maro’
Malom Massacre: 2 November, 2000: Assam Rifles convoy was attacked near Malom, Manipur by insurgents. In retaliation, the troops shot at civilians at a nearby bus-stop leaving 10 civilians dead, including a 60 year old woman and a boy who had been awarded the bravery award by the former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi. A brutal combing operation followed. Irom Sharmila’s fast-to-death began in the aftermath of this incident.
The massacre at Tabanglong in Western Tamenglong District on 28 December 2000 resulted in the death of eight (8) villagers when they were attacked by soldiers belonging to the 15th Jat Regiment, a military regiment of the Indian army.
Several other massacres are – Oinam Leikai Massacre on 21 November, 1980, Ukhrul Massacres on 9 May, 1995, Bashikhong massacre on 19 February, 1995, Churachandpur Massacres on 21 July, 1999, Nungleiban Massacre on 15 October , 1997, Tabokpikhong Massacres on 12 August, 1997, Tonsen lamkhai Massacres on September 3, 2000
These few examples of military massacres only serve to illustrate the fact that, for many years in Manipur, the armed forces belonging to the Indian Union have been killing local civilians arbitrarily by using force inconsistent to the principle of absolute necessity and proportion, in violation of human rights.
Manipur’s Representation in Indian Parliament
The number of Lok Sabha MPs for Manipur is not viable- The number of Lok Sabha seats for Manipur is only two whereas for UP, it is 80. No MP from Manipur will be able to become the Prime Minister or President even if he is Lord Krishna or Jesus Christ or prophet Muhammad. We find that for a small population hardly two lakhs of Anglo-Indians, Nehru had put the number of Lok Sabha MPs as two. Considering the Indian Constitution, can any Manipuri become the Prime Minster of India in the next 500 years? The number of Lok Sabha MPs for Manipur should be a least eight.
There is no balanced representation of states in the Rajya Sabha ( Council of States ). The number of Rajya Sabha seat for Manipur is only one whereas for UP, it is 31. Rajya Sabha is the Council of States. There should be balanced and equal representation of States-big or small as done in many countries of the world including USA. The number of Rajya Sabha MPs for Manipur should be at least seven.
Possible Common Future and peaceful co-existence for all ethnic groups in Manipur
While in India, we run the risk of being reduced to microscopic minority. While in India, we run the risk of losing our identity, our land, our language, our culture, our traditions, our resources. By following the Indian constitution, no Manipuri will be able to become the Prime Minister of India in the next 500 years. Considering the proud history of Manipur as a Sovereign Kingdom for more than 2000 years, recognizing the series of blunders the Government of India has committed against Manipur during the last 66 years, recognizing the need for having communal harmony, peaceful coexistence and recognizing the various demands of the ethnic groups, the people of Manipur should assert that the Government of India may grant “RESORATION OF PRE-MERGER STATUS OF MANIPUR” without further delay. All ethnic groups should be united as one person and assert for “Restoration of pre-merger status of Manipur” We should have a common vision, common goal, common language and common strategy. When there is no vision, the people perish.
The PRE-MERGER POLITICAL STATUS OF MANIPUR may consist of the following components:-
- Separate constitution 2 Separate Parliament 3. Separate Flag. 4. Separate Prime Minister 5. Separate Supreme Court 6. Separate Administrative System 7. Separate Legal System 8. Separate Passport 9. Separate Currency 10. Joint Defense system 11 Joint External Affaires 12. Permanent Representative to UN 13. Right to run Manipur Embassies in countries of our choice 14. Special Central Budget 15. Right to conclude commercial Business and Trading Agreements with foreign countries. Manipur may remain as a part of India with shared Sovereignty.
The final shape of the Pre-Merger Political Status of Manipur may be decided after wide consultation among the various ethnic groups of Manipur and negotiation with the Government of India.
Without restoration of PRE-MERGER STATUS OF MANIPUR, fulfillment of any other demands will be meaningless. We will have our own country with all the ethnic groups living in harmony and peace together and compete with the best brains of the world. We can sit together and frame our own constitution as per wishes of all ethnic groups. This will be possible only when we stand united. This will be possible only when the all political parties, all civil society organizations, all pressure groups, all insurgent groups have a common vision, common language, common goal, common strategy and initiate a people’s mass movement with passion, commitment, dedication and sacrifice. This will be possible only when the young people lead the people’s mass movement. All revolutions belong to the young people. On you, depends tomorrow. This will be possible only when we fight for it in do or die situation. The time for action is TODAY, Tomorrow may be too late.