In a release, the proscribed umbrella group argued that the Merger Agreement signed on September 21, 1949 and came into effect on October 15, 1949 was in violation of international law and norms. And as such it was illegal and unconstitutional.
As in previous years, the proscribed umbrella group Coordination Committee (CorCom) has imposed a statewide total shutdown on October 15 — ‘National Black Day’. Exemptions have been made for medical, fire services, media and traditional and customary activities. The total shutdown will come into effect from 6:00 am till 6:00 pm.
CorCom, in a release said that on September 21, 1949, the then king of Manipur, Bodhachandra was forced to sign the Merger Agreement, after the Indian forces surrounded his Bungalow in Shillong, against international laws and without the consent of the people of the state. On October 15 of the same year, Manipur, which has been an ‘Asiatic sovereign state’ in WESEA, was annexed by the “imperialist Indian union”, and became a part of it.
“Manipur (Kangleipak) existed as an independent kingdom having a written constitution in the Western South East Asia (WESEA), until it was defeated by the British in Anglo-Manipur war in 1891. It then became a protectorate state till 1947. According to Indian Independence Act, 1947 (IIA), the British suzerainty lapsed and the sovereign independent status was returned to Manipur like other princely states of India. With a written constitution, it began governing itself. But as part of the “expansionist policy” of India, Manipur was subdued from the beginning.
As the then Dominion Government of India annexed Manipur disregarding the norms of independent countries at the time, the people of Manipur have been opposing and challenging it time and again, the umbrella outfit added.
“On July 29, 1949, all the MLAs from the hill areas of Manipur opposed the annexation. On August 3, 1949 a large public meeting was held and representation was sent to the prime minister of India against the annexation. Some members of Congress from the state celebrated the Independence Day of India on August 15, 1949. Against the celebration, ‘Students Federation’ led by Dr Leiren raised a black flag. Then on August 25, 1949, a resolution was taken by all the ruling MLAs against the annexation and the deputy prime minister of India was made aware of it.
“Many prominent leaders of the time, including the armed movement of Manipur Communist Party headed by Irabot in 1948 and unarmed movement of Manipur Nationalist Party headed by Sagolsem Indramani and Yangmasho Shaiza in 1952, did not accept the Merger Agreement and asserted that Manipur was an independent state. Since 1960, the people of the state have been opposing the annexation in front of the world.
CorCom said that while some scholars of India, including some from Manipur hold India dearly, have been arguing that Manipur became a part of India as per the Instrument of Accession, August 11, 1949, well before September 21, 1949, some are arguing that Manipur has been part of India since the time of gods.
“According to Section 7 (1) (b) of the Indian Independence Act, 1947, Manipur and other princely states became independent. Article 2(1) of the UN Charter, Manipur (Kangleipak) and India enjoy the same status.
“As per Article 56 and 57 of the Constitution of Manipur (Kangleipak), the locus of power was with the maharajah in council first, then with the state council, and thirdly with the assembly which advised. Bodhachandra in a letter written to the then Assam governor Prakash acknowledged that the locus of power no longer existed with the king according to the articles in the constitution.
“According to Article 56, Article 26 (30), and Article 3 of the Manipuri constitution, the locus of power was with the state council, and even if the maharajah was mentioned it was not in person but maharajah in council. Even if he wanted to share power, it had to be shared in council with the advice of the assembly. If a Bill passed by the Assembly was not given consent by the maharajah, it had to be returned to the Assembly. But if that same Bill was sent to the maharajah again by the Assembly, he had no further power but to be bound by the decision of the Assembly. Even the decision taken by the Assembly superseded that of the maharajah in council. It was clearly mentioned that the maharajah had no power in Article 9 (b), Article 8 (a), Article 55, and Article 57 of the Constitution of Manipur, 1947.
“As per Section 8 (a) of the Manipur State Constitution Act, the maharajah alone could not take any decision that could harm the legitimate interests of administration, including status of Manipur, transfer of administration of Manipur State, amongst others. He was just a constitutional head as per Section 9(b). The council of ministers were given executive authority of Manipur (Kangleipak) by Section 10, and Section 18 provided that any decision regarding the fate of the people had to be taken through debate.
“The Assam governor Prakash detained maharaja Bodhachandra in Shillong using Indian forces from September 17 to 21, 1949. If a country manipulated or intimidated or forced another country to sign a treaty disregarding international law and priciples of the UN Charter, then it becomes null and void as per Article 49, Article 51 and Article 52 of Vienna Convention on Law of Treaties (VCLT), 1969. Since the Dominion Government of India intimidated maharaja Bodhachandra to sign the Merger Agreement, and as both the parties were not “free, informed consent” while signing the agreement, it is not legally valid.
Article 2 (4) of the UN Charter also said that no force or intimidation can be used while building relationships between sovereign independent states. The same article has been a customary international law and norm in the International Court of Justice (CJI), CorCom said.
The release further said that any agreement signed between two countries had to be ratified by the National Assembly of the respective countries. Signing an agreement alone is not enough according to Article 14 (1) of VCLT, 1969. The so called “Merger Agreement” is not valid as force and threat was used by the Dominion Government of India while signing it.
“Resolution against the agreement was also passed by the fourth sitting of the third session of the Manipur Assembly on September 28, 1949. The National Convention held at GM Hall, Imphal on October 28 and 29, 1993 also resolved that the agreement was illegal and unconstitutional, and had no legal validity. The National Seminar held on December 8 and 9, 1994 also reiterated the same. The annexation of Manipur by India in 1949 also seriously disregarded Article 2 (4) and UN General Assembly Resolution 2625 of 1970.
Stating that the people of the state and revolutionary outfits have been protesting the annexation and launching movements, CorCom said that for about half a century, the Indian occupation army has been suppressing the movements using repressive measures.
“While some protested democratically, the “Manipur (Kangleipak) liberation movement” by armed groups gained momentum in late 1960’s. The movement was a torch bearer of the decolonisation movement that swept the world at that point of time. But the UN only acknowledged European colonisation and not Indian colonisation.
“After the annexation, the “Indian colonial” government ravaged the hills and valleys of the state. Many have been killed, raped, paralysed and properties have been destroyed. With the view of a “racist national”, the people of the state have been looked down and oppressed. The governance and economy have been reduced to a dependent one. The right to self determination, an intrinsic right of being a human have been snatched.
Stating that “Colonial Development Process” and “Colonial Economy” have never benefited the people of the state, CorCom said that some crores are spent on paper to maintain the “colonial apparatus” using some politicians as their stooges.
The umbrella outfit said that since 1949, not just ruling politically and militarily, they have been exploiting the governance and economy of the state. As a result of being under India, the Covid-19 pandemic has not been fought timely in the right manner, as the politicians are busy trying to retain or grab power. CorCom criticised the state of health infrastructure of the government.
CorCom also said that although educational institutions are not being opened due to the pandemic, election campaigns have begun without maintaining SOPs. While the laymen are fined for not maintaining SOPs, the ministers and political leaders are being let scot-free. This only proves that laws are meant for the poor and not the influential people. In order to say that the pandemic has been arrested in order to conduct the election, the number of tests have been reduced drastically. But for a small population, the number of deaths continues to rise. If any untoward explosion of cases occurred, like in other states, when conducting the election the government should take the sole responsibility, it added.
CorCom also urged the people to support the struggle to regain the independence of Manipur (Kangleipak).