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Merger of Manipur and Tripura with India

Merger of Manipur and Tripura

Merger of Manipur and Tripura with India: On October 15, 2019, the outlawed insurgent groups, Alliance for Socialist Unity, Kangleipak (ASUK), and National Liberation Front of Twipra (NLFT), urged for a complete shutdown in Tripura and Manipur. They claimed that the merger of these two northeastern states with the Indian Union was done “under duress.” It’s worth noting that NLFT had been banned in 1997 under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act and subsequently under the Prevention of Terrorism Act (POTA).

Merger of Manipur with India

  • Before 15th August 1947, peaceful negotiations had brought almost all states whose territories were contiguous to the new boundaries of India, into the Indian Union.
  • The rulers of most of the states signed a document called the ‘Instrument of Accession’ which meant that their state agreed to become a part of the Union of India.
  • A few days before Independence, the Maharaja of Manipur, Bodhachandra Singh, signed the Instrument of Accession with the Indian government on the assurance that the internal autonomy of Manipur would be maintained.
  • Under the pressure of public opinion, the Maharaja held elections in Manipur in June 1948 and the state became a constitutional monarchy.
  • Thus Manipur was the first part of India to hold an election based on universal adult franchise. In the Legislative Assembly of Manipur there were sharp differences over the question of merger of Manipur with India.
  • The Government of India succeeded in pressuring the Maharaja into signing a Merger Agreement in September 1949, without consulting the popularly elected Legislative Assembly of Manipur.

Merger of Tripura with India

  • Tripura was a princely state till the merger with the Indian union on 15th November, 1949.
  • The last king Bir Bikram who was on the throne, immediately before India’s independence, died on 17th May, 1947.
  • After his demise, his minor son Kirri Bikram Mannikya took the throne of Tripura kingdom, but he could not rule as he was minor.
  • So his widow queen Kanchan Prabha took the charge of regency of Tripura and took over the administrative charges.
  • She was instrumental for Merger of the Tripura kingdom in the Indian Union.

Arguments of the Outlawed Groups

  • The merger agreements between Manipur and Tripura were signed under pressure, with two less-than-capable authorities from each kingdom involved.
  • The king of Manipur ended up being just a symbolic figurehead after a legislature and government were elected, diminishing his role in the kingdom.
  • The legitimacy of Tripura’s queen regent was questionable, especially after the council of regency was unilaterally dissolved.
  • The merger of these two states was a result of a significant error in judgment, driven by a misunderstanding that the Dominion of India would function as a loose confederation of states and provinces, similar to the setup during British colonial rule.

Read Also: Rule 176 vs Rule 267: What Govt. agrees to, what Opp. demands

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