Repentance galore as CSOs decry ‘Merger Agreement’
IMPHAL, 21st Sep: Apunba Manipur Kanba Ima Lup (AMKIL) in association with United Peoples’ Front (UPF) organised a discussion on the topic, ‘Merger Agreement, 1949 Manipur and India’ at Iboyaima Shumang Leela Shanglen, Palace Compound here Saturday.
Speaking at the occasion as one of the presidium members, UPF president W Second said that the people of the Manipur have been left with resentment since the state was merged with India on September 21, 1949. As such, the discussion was held to ascertain what steps could be taken up in future, he added.
He continued that initially, Manipur was merged to India as a Part-C State. Although Manipur was one of the oldest South East Asian Kingdoms, the state was placed under the charge of a Commissioner with the ridiculous assumption that it would not be able to govern its own people. The Indian government then adopted the ‘Divide and Rule policy’ of the British and wreaked havoc in the state for the last 70 years, by continuously causing rift among the numerous communities of the state. As a result, the state is losing its original territorial boundary on a daily basis, while every community is interested only in preserving its own identity rather than thinking about the united identity of the state, Second remarked.
The UPF president then said that the influx of outsiders in the state is now threatening the unique culture of the state. Furthermore, there are concerns that the number of outsiders in the state is dominating the total population of the indigenes. All of the said fears have been caused due to the merger, he stated.
Asserting that time has come for the people to adopt a unified stand, Second said that the moment has come for the people to remember how Manipur was saved from the clutches of Awa (now Myanmar). As such, the discussion would help in bringing about Manipur Nationalism, he contended.
In her speech as one of the presidium members, AMKIL president Ph Sakhi recalled that the then king Bodhchandra was summoned to Shillong, wherein he was made to sign the merger agreement forcibly on September 21, 1949 after keeping him under house arrest. The agreement was then announced to the public on October 15 of the same year, she recounted. However, Manipur never achieved a moment of peace after its merger to India. Instead, the Draconian AFSPA was enforced in the state in 1980 despite objections raised by the then state MP. Soon after, Chanu Rose of Ukhrul committed suicide after she was gang-raped by Indian Army. This was only the beginning, as the Indian army continued to commit atrocities upon the people of the state with impunity granted under the pro-military Act. All of these are the gifts that India has given to Manipur in return for merging with it, she remarked.
The discussion was also attended by Nupi Samaj president Th Ramani as another presidium member, while Modern College Political Science retired Associate Prof Dr Haobam Indrakumar, IGNTU Assistant Prof Homen Thangjam and senior journalist A Mobi spoke as resource persons.