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Indian History

Merger of Manipur and Tripura with India

  • 16 Oct 2019
  • 4 min read

The outlawed insurgent groups, Alliance for Socialist Unity, Kangleipak (ASUK) and National Liberation Front of Twipra (NLFT) in Tripura and Manipur, have called for a total shutdown in the two north-eastern states on 15th October, 2019 arguing that the two states were merged with the Indian Union “under duress”.

  • NLFT was banned in 1997 under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act and then 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 princely state till the merger with 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 Tripura kingdom in Indian Union.

Arguments of the Outlawed Groups

  • Merger agreements were signed under duress by two incompetent authorities of the two kingdoms.
    • Manipur king was reduced to a ‘mere figurehead’ of the kingdom after installation of an elected legislature and government.
    • Tripura’s queen regent had ‘questionable legitimacy’ after the unilateral dissolution of the council of regency.
  • These two states’ merger was done out of ‘pure miscalculation’ and ‘unrealistic comprehension’ that the then Dominion of India would become a loose confederation of states and provinces like it existed under British colonial India.

Source: TH

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