In a bizarre development, a delegation on behalf of the Maharaja of Manipur has declared independence from India in London. The announcement was made on behalf of Maharaja Sanazawa, self-styled chief of the council of ministers Yamben Biren and their so-called minister of state for foreign and defence affairs Narengbam Samarjit. These separatists who hail from Manipur have called for the formation of an expatriate government in London.
The activists have appealed to Queen Elizabeth II of Britain for recognition of the province of India as a separate nation-state. Biren and Samarjit have called for a separate administration to declare their leadership of the Manipur State Council at a press conference. The two separatists had sought their political asylum in Britain on 25 August.
The two activists claim that more than 1,00,000 people of Manipur seek independence from the Indian government. Quite dramatically, Biren and Samarjit say they fear they would be ‘killed’ upon returning home. The two separatists have alleged that the Indian Army is torturing the people of the state. Biren also claimed that the future of 124 murder cases in the Supreme Court is still hanging balance.
The British had handed over power to the Raja of Manipur on 7 August 1947. After two years, Manipur became part of India. The activists of the Manipur State Council demanded that the proposal for separation from India had been passed before.
Meanwhile, King Lisemba Sanajaoba said he was “surprised” at the whole incident. He also said he did not give any such instructions. The Ministry of External Affairs of India has not responded to the entire matter. The Indian Embassy in London is quiet on the issue, too. Chief Minister of the state N Biren Singh, however, has demanded an investigation into the entire incident.
Erendro Leichombam, a former fellow of the World Bank, meanwhile, has written about one of the separatists on Facebook, “The Ministry of Corporate Affairs database confirms that Mr. N Samarjit Singh has floated 18 different companies. Not to mention he also leads a political party called NEIDP. The Govt. should alert the Enforcement Directorate to look into these companies for any fraud or Ponzi scheme.”
The actual history of the province of the modern era is different from what the separatists claim. While the Manipur State Constitution Act of 1947 established a democratic form of government, with the Maharaja continuing as the head of state, this ‘king’ had to rush to Shillong when faced with Burma’s ambitions to take over the state in 1949. In what is now the capital of the Indian province of Meghalaya, the maharaja signed an instrument of accession to merge the kingdom into the Union of India. Thereafter, Manipur’s Legislative Assembly was dissolved. In October 1949, Manipur became part of India. It was made a union territory in 1956 and a full-fledged state in 1972.
In this year’s Lok Sabha election, Manipur recorded the highest voter turnout, underscoring their association and inalienability from the Indian democracy.