GUWAHATI: Several parts of Manipur witnessed a bandh-like situation on Tuesday as the insurgents had announced a “total shutdown” against the state’s merger with the Indian Union on this day 70 years ago.
The rebels also had called for a total shutdown in Tripura. However, it hardly had any impact.
The shutdown in Manipur was called by Coordination Committee (CorCom) and Alliance of Socialist Unity, Kangleipak (ASUK). They are umbrella organisations of myriad militant groups. In Tripura, it was called by National Liberation Front of Tripura (NLFT).
Six districts in Manipur’s Imphal Valley were affected by the shutdown. Normal life was, however, as usual in the hill districts which surround the Imphal Valley. The hills are where the tribals live.
In Tripura, the impact of the shutdown was partially felt in some tribal-majority areas.
The NLFT and the ASUK described the 1949 merger as a “dark period” in the history of the two erstwhile princely states.
“We have become demographically outnumbered or nearly outnumbered, politically marginalised and disintegrated, economically dependent and pauperised, socially disorganised and splintered, morally degenerated, bastardised and treacherous, and psychologically diffident and vacillating. National doom is staring at us viciously. Merger with India is the root cause of all these national maladies,” they said in a joint statement.
They said the merger agreements were signed under duress.
In Manipur, it was signed by Maharaja Bodhachandra Singh and VP Menon, representing the Government of India, on October 15, 1949. The Maharaja was coerced to sign the agreement at gun point.
The merger pact of Tripura was signed by Maharani Kanchanprabha Devi. Her husband and the last reigning king Maharaja Bir Bikram Kishore Manikya had died in 1947. Tripura was ruled by as many as 184 kings with sovereign and independent status.