Contd from previous issue
And it is as abominable as hell that a quisling generation was deliberating misguiding some frenzied mobs in patches and batches from certain localities of central Imphal to work to the detriment of sabotaging and subverting the sovereign existence of Manipur, from within, by taking recourse to charade of Quit Gaddi campaign. (Nevertheless, all said and done, Quit Gaddi movement did not bear any characteristic of a mass upsurge outbreak, at all. Plainly speaking, it was just a sporadic Congress inspired agitation limited to certain pockets of influence especially the Yaiskul-Singjamei belt. The agitation certainly did not extend to Khwai areas Praja Shanti party elected members like Arambam Ibungotomcha and Khongbantabam Ibetombi were strong.)
In the meanwhile, taking serious note of subversive anti-state activities perpetrated by the Manipur State Congress, Maharaja Bodh Chandra dispatched an urgent memo to Chief Minister Capt. M.K. Priya Brata on 26 July, 1949, in which he noted with serious concern that although ‘the Council has stopped the Ngasi paper but with unbroken continuity it has appeared under another name viz. Bulletin Nos. without the permission of the Council. The Bulletins are publishing the same sort of stuff as in Ngasi. As the publishers of the Bulletins have done without the permission of the Council, their publications should be stopped at once, if necessary, by application of Assam Maintenance of Law and Order Enactment’. In the same vein, His Highness asked the Chief Minister to take ‘note that a passage marked in Bulletin No. 1, column 2 comes within the mischief of Assam Maintenance of Law and Order’ and that the then Superintendent of Police should be instructed to swiftly ‘take action against those who are responsible for the publication of such passage’. Finally, in the communiqué, His Highness reminded Capt. M.K. Priya Brata to intimate him of any ‘action taken as early as practicable’ against the Manipur State Congress party men for continuing with their underground activities of clandestinely publishing bulletins of a banned newspaper that Ngashi was.
Following His Highness’ instructions, the government stepped up vigil against the Manipur State Congress’ subversive activities. The government further threatened that prosecution would be launched against the Congress workers in case they fail to ‘keep their word’ to halt publications of the bulletins. As a result, the Congress bulletins ceased all sorts of underground publications by 30 July, 1949, wilting under pressure in the face of heat piled up on its back by the State administration authorities. It is clear that the Manipur State Congress party, which was lying low and marginalized for quite some time since the poll drubbing and resounding defeat at the hands of the people in the popular elections held in mid-1948, unabashedly acquired menacing fifth columnists role by demanding removal of Gaddi and merger of Manipur to India with the unveiling and unfolding of the Quit Gaddi movement. All the while, they were working at the instigation of Dewan Rawal Amar Singh to rock the boat of Manipur’s independent existence so that it eventually capsizes and sink Maharaja Bodh Chandra along with proud sovereign existence of Manipur. Without any scruples of conscience, the Manipur State Congress wilfully played quislings and danced to the tunes choreographed by Machiavellian Assam Governor Sri Prakasa and Dewan R.A. Singh to subvert the sovereign identity of Manipur. Quite disconcertingly, the rank and file of the Manipur State Congress party went into self-destructive mode, on their own accord and volition, bizarrely lending voice for merger of Manipur to India. They were more than willing to play into the hands of wily mastermind R.A. Singh to satiate their appetite for power.
Not content with sitting in the opposition benches, the Manipur State Congress clamoured for merger of Manipur into India eagerly hoping that their party men would get plum posts in administrative hierarchy in the event of merger. While the Congress party was raising pitch for merger, the Praja Shanti Party and the Hill M.L.A.’s sternly opposed the State Congress ploy and tactics for merger of Manipur. Under the Chairmanship of Mr. S. Lunneh, the Hill MLAs convened a special meeting at Imphal on 27 July, 1949 and adopted a unanimous resolution denouncing the Manipur State Congress campaign for merger of Manipur ignoring the voice and sentiments of the Hill people on the merger question. As many as 12 Hill MLAs namely: Major R. Khathing Hill Minister, T.C. Tiankham Speaker M.S.L.A., S. Lunneh, R. Suisa, Luying Hungyo, Tualchin, Damjakhai, M.K. Shimray, T. Luikham, Buishing, Dr. Kampu and Kakhangai were signatories of the resolution. The following is an extract of the Hill MLAs resolution:
The Hill MLAs view with great concern at the subversive activity of the Manipur State Congress. It is most regrettable that the Working Committee of the Manipur State Congress, who claim themselves to be the leaders of the State should exhibit their absolute ignorance of the customs of the Hill people and the administration of the Hills and yet pretended to be their champions.
While the Hill people of Manipur have shown tolerance and patience and extended open arms for the better understanding of the Hill people and the valley people, the Manipur State Congress have not only completely ignored the importance of the Hill people in Manipur State but have widened the gulf of misunderstanding and suspicions by their irresponsible speeches and publications without an iota of truth in it. The Manipur State Congress have even lowered the reputation of the Congress as a whole before the eyes of the Hill people who most unfortunately little knows and understand the principle of the Congress.
It is therefore unequivocally declared that the Valley people of Manipur whose area is only 700 square miles, can have no right at all to speak for the Hill people of Manipur State who occupy more than 7000 square miles on the issue of integration or merger or any other matter which affects the primary interests of the Hill people. (Resolutions passed at a special Hill MLAs meeting held at Imphal 27.7.49 under the chairmanship of Mr. S. Lunneh. It was also published in Bhagyabati Patrika dated 20.8.49 cited in Resistance dated August 1979 Pg. 7)
While the Hill MLAs were unanimous in condemnation of the subversive activities undertaken by the Manipur State Congress and their proposal for merger of Manipur into the then Dominion of India; in the valley, the Praja Shanti party spared no efforts to mobilize public opinion against merger. In outlook, the ruling party was royalist and strongly stood for preservation of monarchy and existing cabinet form of government.
Outright nationalist as the Praja Shanti party was, they were driven by intense patriotic fervour to zealously guard the independent entity (referred to as ‘separate existence’ in their lexicon) of Manipur which it had come to enjoy after the lapse of British paramountcy as all adversarial forces, both internally and externally. Its party Secretary Nongthombam Ibomcha led the charge of vociferously countering merger campaign ratcheted up by the Manipur State Congress.
To be contd