Imphal, Feb 20: Controversy over whether Khongjom was to be observed on April 23 or April 25 still continues. The matter was even put up during zero hour as a matter of serious concern by MLA RK. Imo and MLA Y. Surchandra yesterday after a newspaper reported a matter regarding this by a student group KSA.
As per document with the Imphal Times, the matter on whether the war was fought on April 23 or April 26 of 1891 is produced here.
On the Letter No 181-M dated 29th April, 1891, location Camp Manipur, Brigadier-General T Graham, C.B., commanding the Tamu Column, Manipur Field Force wrote to the Assistant Adjutant- General, Manipur Field Force. This was also published by, The London Gazette dated August 14, 1891.
As per the letter which is with the Imphal Times a report was received from Tamu on the 25th March that the telegraph wire had been cut 25 miles from Tamu, and that the Manipuried were rising. On the 27th March a detachment of the 43rd Gurkha Rifles arrived at Tamu from Manipur, and stated that a revolt had taken place.
The Tamu Column was constituted by
1.Four guns , No 2 Mountain Battery, Royal Artillery
2.HQ and Wing, 4th Battalion King’s Royal Rifles.
4.12th ( Burma) Madras Infantry.
5. 32nd ( Burma) madras Infantry in reserve at Tamu.
The main body of the Tamu column concentrated at Tamu on the 21st April, and advance on the 23rd April, it having been arranged that the column from Kohima, Silchar, and Tamu should concentrate on Manipur on the 27th April, 1891.
The column advance without opposition to Pallel. On the 24th April, 1891, While the main body was at Tengnoupal, Information was received from Pallel that the Manipuri troops had entrenched themselves in a position about six miles north of Palel, and orders were issued for a reconnaissance to be made on the 25th April to ascertain their strength. On the arrival of the headquarters of the column at Palel on the 25th April, 1891, information was received from Captain Drury, 2-4th Gurkha regiment, who was commanding the reconnaissance party, that he had hemmed in a large number of the Manipur soldiers in their entrenchment about six miles north of Palel.
The letter in his war diary wrote, “As Captain Drury had only 100 rifles of the 2-4th Gurkha Regiment, 50 rifles of the 12th ( Burma) Madras Infantry , and 44 mounted infantry of the 12th (Burma) Madras Infantry with him, and as I did not think this force strong enough for the purpose, I ordered two guns of No.2 Mountain Battery and 200 rifles of the 2-4th Gurkha regiment, the whole under the command of Captain Rundall, 2-4th Gurkha Regiment , to reinforce Captain Drury. Captain Rundall, on arrival at the scene of action, placed his gun on a hill about 1000 yards from the entrenchment, and commenced to shell it. In the meantime Captain Drury with his detachment of the 2-4th Gurkha Regiment and Lieutenant Grant with the 12th (Burma) Madras Infantry gradually approached the entrenchment from the north, while Captain Carnegy with his Gurkhas approached it from the south. The guns ceased firing as the infantry approached, and finally both Captain Drury’s and Captain Carnegy’s parties, the former accompanied by the detachment of the 12th (Burma) Madras Infantry under Lieutenant Grant, rushed the entrenchment. A regular hand to hand fight ensued, when most of the enemy in the work were killed. The mounted infantry of the 12th (Burma) Madras Infantry under Lieutenant Cox cut off the retreat of those who tried to escape, and killed many of them.
Of the enemy, 76 dead bodies were found in the entrenchment, and 52 outside, while the mounted infantry killed many more. Amongst the killed were two Minzawraws ( Majors) named Meah and Senna Mypa ( a prince).
William Gurumayum, Sub-Editor of Imphal Times is a resident of Sagolband Salam Leikai. He has been with Imphal Times since beginning. A avid adventure lover, writes mostly travelogue.
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