Manipur Separatists Announce Independence From India, Form 'Government In Exile'
The self-proclaimed ‘representatives’ of Manipur’s King Leishemba Sanajaoba on Tuesday announced separation from India to form a government-in-exile in Britain.
At a press conference in London, the ‘Chief Minister’ Yamben Biren and the ‘Minister of External Affairs and Defence’ Narengbam Samarjit claimed to speak on behalf of the titular king and said they were formally launching the– ‘the Manipur State Council’.
The newly formed Manipur State Council said that they believed in obtaining their objectives through peaceful and democratic means, giving a long list of their demands including the restoration of the rights of tribals, removal of Indian forces from their land and restoration of their sovereignty. However, the King of Manipur has issued a statement distancing himself from the Manipur State Council.
The exiled government will be based in Central London. They produced a document showing that the Maharaja of Manipur had authorised them by ‘Order No. 12 of 2013’ dated March 15, 2013, to solve the political problems of the State of Manipur.
Speaking to the press, they said, “We believe that now is the right time to make public the Independent Government of Manipur before the international community and announce our independent status. We call on all the governments of the member nations of the UN for their recognition of the de jure and exiled Government of Manipur from today onwards.”
However, there was no immediate comment from the Indian mission in London. Both separatist leaders produced documents to show they have been granted political asylum in the UK in August this year.
“The three million Manipuri population want recognition as a ‘Native Nation’. Our attempts to engage with the Indian government were met with hate and hostilities,” they said.
Referring to public interest litigation (PIL) filed by the Extra Judicial Execution Victim Families Association in Manipur, and the Imphal-based Human Rights Alert (HRA) they said that 1,528 extrajudicial killings had taken place in the state between 1980 and 2011.
The PIL which was submitted to the Supreme Court for hearing in 2017 had alleged that the Indian Army, its adjunct Assam Rifles, and several central paramilitary forces including the Manipur Police were complicit in the killings.
His Highness the King of Manipur has issued statement distancing himself from the announcement. He said he was made to sign some documents by these representatives on the pretext of acquiring some Manipur-related documents & pictures from London. He is unaware of the declaration. pic.twitter.com/CXikELytKh
— Angellica Aribam (@AngellicAribam) October 30, 2019