Indian Manipur separatists announce exiled government in UK

Published October 30, 2019
Dissident political leaders from the Indian state of Manipur on Tuesday said they were unilaterally declaring independence from India and forming a government-in-exile in Britain. — Photo courtesy Twitter via Hindustan Times
Dissident political leaders from the Indian state of Manipur on Tuesday said they were unilaterally declaring independence from India and forming a government-in-exile in Britain. — Photo courtesy Twitter via Hindustan Times

Dissident political leaders from the Indian state of Manipur on Tuesday said they were unilaterally declaring independence from India and forming a government-in-exile in Britain.

The former princely state became part of India in 1949, two years after the country won independence from Britain, but has since seen decades-long violent separatist campaigns.

Narengbam Samarjit, external affairs minister in the self-declared Manipur State Council, said the exiled government would push for recognition at the United Nations.

"We will run the de jure exiled government here [...] from today onwards," he told reporters in London, after a declaration of independence first announced in Manipur in 2012 was read aloud.

"We will seek recognition from different nations [...] to become a (UN) member. We hope many of the countries will recognise our independence."

Manipur, one of India's smallest states with a population of around just 2.8 million people, is one of the so-called "Seven Sisters" — a group of restive northeastern states.

The region, encircled by five other countries and connected to the rest of India by a sliver of land arching over Bangladesh, has been wracked by armed conflict and instability.

It has spawned more than 100 militant groups over the decades whose demands range from autonomy to secession.

Violence has been part of daily life for decades in Manipur, which borders Myanmar, with a strong presence of the Indian military.

The state has a strong ethnic mix, and its Meitei, Naga, Kuki and Pangal communities are all deeply committed to preserving their own cultural autonomy.

Its people have also always tended to look eastwards in their search for cultural links.

Samarjit said he hoped the world would support its independence cause.

"We are not free there and our history is going to be destroyed, our culture is going to be extinct," he warned.

"So the UN should listen [...] we raise our voice to the whole world that the people living in Manipur are human beings."

The High Commission of India did not respond to a request for comment.

Opinion

Editorial

KP’s ‘power struggle’
Updated 21 Jun, 2024

KP’s ‘power struggle’

Instead of emboldening protesters, CM Gandapur should encourage his provincial subjects to clear their due bills and ensure theft is minimised.
Journalist’s murder
21 Jun, 2024

Journalist’s murder

ANOTHER name has been added to the list of journalists murdered in Pakistan. On Tuesday, Khalil Jibran’s vehicle...
A leaner government?
21 Jun, 2024

A leaner government?

FINANCE Minister Muhammad Aurangzeb has reiterated his government’s ‘commitment’ to shutting down ministries...
Kindness needed
Updated 20 Jun, 2024

Kindness needed

This year’s World Refugee Day theme — solidarity with refugees — includes keeping our borders accessible and addressing the hurdles they face.
Fitch’s budget note
20 Jun, 2024

Fitch’s budget note

PAKISTAN’S ongoing economic crisis is multifaceted. At one end, the government must pursue stabilisation policies...
Cruelty to animals
20 Jun, 2024

Cruelty to animals

TWO recent incidents illustrate the immense cruelty many in this country subject voiceless animals to. In the first...