Imphal, Oct 13: A joint statement signed by the Chairman of proscribed groups Kanglei Yawol Kanna Lup (KYKL) N. Oken, President of Kangleipak Communist Party (KCP) Laba Meitei and President of National Liberation Front of Twipra (NLFT) D Yamrok has called total shut down from the midnight of October 14 to 6 pm of October 15 resisting the imposition of Indian rule on the two erstwhile nation state on October 15, 1949. The statement however said that the shut down will not cover essential services such as medical, water supply and religious activities.
In a lengthy statement signed by the leaders of the three rebel groups, it is stated that
refusal of Tripura Merger Agreement (TMA) and Manipur Merger Agreement (MMA) which were signed respectively on September 9 and September 21, 1949 have been at the very heart of people’s struggle for freedom and change, which have been witnessed in the last 5/6 decades in Tripura and Manipur.
“In our struggle for freedom, that is freedom from colonial India, and better change if we are not able to make the people indignantly stand against the agreements mentioned above explaining them how treacherously we have been coerced to ink the agreements, whatever strategy we invoke will prove to be counterproductive. Making the people and ourselves critically conscious of the treacherous and uncivilized ways through which the two agreements were concluded and came into force to sit on our necks may be the long way round but the shortest way to freedom”, the statement said.
It further stated that the then Manipur King refused to sign the pre-drafted Manipur Merger agreement being supplied to him by the agents of the dominion of India without consulting the council of ministers in whom the real sovereign power lies, for Manipur, at that time, have had a democratically elected Government with a written constitution adopted under the Manipur State Constitution Act, 1947 thereby reducing the king of Manipur to the status of a mere constitutional head of the state.
Stating that the sovereign power once embedded in the body of the king had shifted to the body of the people after the first election held in March 1948 under the Manipur constitution Act, 1947 on the basis of adult franchise.
“Therefore Maharaja’s signing of the agreement has gone beyond the legal authority he has been given under the constitution thus rendering the agreement legally invalid.
If a treaty is concluded by using threats or force, it will be taken as void and null as it has violated the principles of international law enshrined in the charter of the United Nations. This is what the Article 52 of the Vienna convention on the law of treaties,
1969 precisely puts down. Cutting into the Manipur merger Agreement, 1949 through the lens of Vienna convention, one will never find a reason not to say MMA, 1949 invalid, the statement said.
It further added that If one quickly looks up the episodes transpired there in Shillong during September 17- 21, 1949, what could be evidently seen is how the Maharaja of Manipur had been subjected to psychological tortures, emotional blackmailing, prolonged detention and military threat in dominion India’s two-faced attempts in order to get the agreement signed.
“The strength of Jat Regiment, for instance, had been increased from one section to two sections intensifying surveillances over the king as he expressed his desire to return to Manipur to obtain the approval of the people without signing the document. This is more than an indication of transacting the signing of the Manipur Merger Agreement under duress rendering it completely invalid and non-operative.
Besides the final confirmation of an agreement needed to make it legally operational,which we call ratification, was never done as respects the Manipur Merger agreement,1949 by the Manipur Legislative Assembly, which alone can claim the invalidity of MMA. Pending the ratification, the administration of Manipur was however handed over to the dominion of India, which any rational people can take as the worst form of treachery. This was what Indian leaders who shamelessly compared democracy with the holy bible did to us; they deceitfully took possession of Manipur strangulating democracy masquerading as if they respect people’s voice.
“Assumption of Indian leaders as not understanding the necessity of ratifying the agreement concluded between the two states for its consummation would constitute our infantile understanding of India. But it was not that they did it for nothing; they purposefully did so thinking what they did then as the only rational choice left to co-opt the sovereign independent state of Manipur into the newly born fascist India, though it seemed to be a bit infantile.
The statement said that what the India did was nothing but making things invisible whichever they considered obstacle to their elephantine venture of constructing India, where the mainland will imprison the periphery, particularly the people of WESEA.
“What is more, the Manipur merger agreement through which India has been riding roughshod over us for more than 6 decades had never been subject to a plebiscite under the supervision of a neutral party like the United Nation, which has been a universally democratic norms to ascertain whether the people in a particular territory want to remain independent or join another country. So we stand against the merger of Manipur with the dominion of India as no plebiscite was held seeking what the people in whose body lies the real sovereign authority have in their mind”, the statement signed by the three leaders said.
Regarding Tripura the statement said that the regent queen Kanchan Prava was taken for a ride by the newly born fascist India to sign the Tripura Merger Agreement in the name of protecting her state on September 9, 1949 to come into effect from October 15, 1949, the same day on which Manipur’s administration was handed over to India. “This tragic historical episode of Tripura, an ancient princely state ruled by as many as 184 sovereign kings, began with the death of its last ruling King, Bir Bikram Kishore Deb Barman resulting in putting his 13 years old minor son, Kirit Bikram, on the throne with his wife as regent queen. At that turbulent period of time she had to face a great number of crises from within and without”, it said.
The statement also said that The independent-minded people of Tripura stood against the merger. Tens of thousands Borok people took to the street protesting the perfidious agreement, raising their voice that spoke the Borok spirit of independence and justice. Unfortunately the fascist minded Indian leaders who still smell slave, masquerading as democrats, suppressed the voice of the people sending many Borok leaders to prison.
A close observation will tell one that all the issues confronting Tripura in the postmerger period, beginning from politics, identity crisis, the unchecked influx of Bengali migrants, economy, arts and culture and even social mores, revolve around the contested agreement.
“Therefore, there is a need to understand the existential challenges we are facing now by latching onto the agreement that had landed us in extreme troubles like national death through tools like population assimilation, cultural Indianization and militarization.
Relegating the significance of understanding these plethora of issues through the prism of the merger agreement to mere sentimentality and emotional outburst, it would be nothing less than endorsing the Indian system of colonialism to maintain their hegemonic status quo.
Understanding the truth that the two independent states of Manipur and Tripura were annexed into India through a treaty without binding characters when viewed from different aspects, we have to stand up as a single entity to break the chains of slavery and throw off the shackles which India put us on. It is worth remembering that these princely states were not even annexed to British India, but the merger agreements they were forced to sign had pushed both of them to the lowest status of Part C state within India disrespecting their sovereign political status they enjoyed before being merged with India”, the statement added.