‘Manipur’s merger into India different from others’

IMPHAL, 12th Oct: A one-day public interaction programme on ‘Merger Agreement and its consequences in Manipur’ organised by South East Asia Human Rights Association (SEAHRA) was held at Hotel Nirmala, MG Avenue here on Saturday.
MU Centre for Manipur Studies former director professor N Joykumar moderated the session while MU economics department professor Dr Chinglen Maisnam, Human Rights Alert Manipur executive director Babloo Loitongbam and GP Women’s College political science department assistant professor Konthoujam Indrakumar spoke as resource persons.
Speaking at the discourse, Babloo Loitongbam maintained that discussing the possible future scenario is equally important with the study of past incidents while discussing Merger Agreement. Altogether 505 princely nations merged into Indian Union post-independence and Manipur’s merger is different from the remaining 504 princely nations. They have forgotten how they merged into the Indian Union but Manipur is still discussing the Merger Agreement again and again due to the nature of the merger. As a consequence, several organisations revolted against the merger and they are banned under Unlawful Activities Prevention Act.
The past incidents have a historical leverage and they keep pushing the present generation.
Manipur remained under the occupation of the then Burma from 1819 to 1826 and then merged into Indian Union after 1949. The fate of future generation will be determined by the past incidents and there is strong need to understand the possible scenario in the state by reviewing the last 70 years since the merger, he said.
He further said that the meeting between China president Xi Jinping and Prime Minister Narendra Modi at Mahabalipuram is an important one. China is marching towards becoming a global super power in terms of military and economy in the near future and as such, Manipur will always be in a tight spot due to such implications. The various forces which threaten the state needs to be understood in order to steer the state and its people to the right direction without which, the indigenous community of the state will be assimilated gradually. At the same time, steering towards the right direction could bring development in the state like that in Singapore considering its high potentials, Babloo said while calling upon all to unite and move towards the right direction.
SEAHRA advisor Ch Hemchandra said that the need for reviewing the legality of the Merger Agreement has arisen out of necessity due to the present state of affairs as a consequence of the merger agreement. When British left Manipur, they gave the options of remaining as a sovereign nation or merge into Indian Union. Consequently, Manipur chose to remain independent and constituted Manipur State Constitutional Act in 1948 to become a democratic country. After that, the king of Manipur became a titular king without any power over the constitution and administration of the state.
However, in 1949, the king was invited to Shillong and forced to sign the Merger Agreement after being kept under house arrest and the nature of signing the agreement under duress has posed question on the validity of the agreement, he added.

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