Integration of Naga Area of Manipur with the state of Nagaland

Memorandum to Shrimati Indira Gandhi Prime Minister of India from the Naga Integration committee, Manipur,Imphal.

To,
The Prime Minister,
Government of India,
New Delhi.

Subject:- Integration of Naga Area of Manipur with the state of Nagaland.

Madam,
We,the undersigned members,as authorised by the Naga Integration committee,Manipur,through their resolution passed at Imphal on 8th July,1968 to meet you,have the honour to lay down the following facts for your consideration and early implementation.

HISTORICAL BACKGROUND OF NAGAS BEING IN MANIPUR:

We will freely quote from Alexander Mackanzie’s “History of the Relation of the Government with the Hill Tribes of the North-East frontier of Bengal.”

On page 150 of the said history it runs as:

“In 1823 the British Government opened communications with Gumbheer Singh,one of the members of the Manipur Royal family; upon which 500 Manipuris under his command were taken into the pay of the British Government, and cooperated with British troops in driving the Burmese out of Cachar. In 1825 this force was increased to 2000 men,and placed under the command of Captain Grant,it was denominated the Manipur Levy, and was paid,accoutred and supplied with ammunition by the British Government. Subsequently by the Ava Treaty of 1826,Gumbheer Singh was recognized as Rajah of Manipur, though without any corresponding obligation so far as the British Government as concerned. The language of the Treaty was as follows: “With regard to Manipur, it is stipulated that, should Gumbheer Singh desire to return to that country, he shall be recognized by the King of Ava as Rajah thereof.” Shortly afterwards the British Government discontinued the payment of the Manipur Levy,but still furnished ammunition for the reduction of refractory Hill tribes; and further supplied 3000 muskets and sets of accoutrements.”

As stated on page 107 and 122, it is now an established fact that the boundary of Manipur was demarcated in 1841-42 and slight revision was made in 1872.

It is no wonder that the then British Government in order to maintain peace and tranquility in their territory in Assam,recognized the De facto authority of Manipur over certain areas in this part of the hills. Slowly the erstwhile Naga Hills here tagged on with Assam. They did the same by giving away certain portion of Hills to Burma for which we have no say.

On page 103 it runs as: 
“When in 1835 our hill villages in North-Cachar were found to be constantly suffering from the exactions and raids, the Government conceived that the duty of controlling the hostile Nagas devolved jointly upon Tularam and the Manipur state, as the two powers holding jurisdiction over at least some portion of the Naga-Hills. It was proposed, therefore, that a line of posts to protect our subjects should be established at Somkhor and along the neighbouring Naga frontier. Tularam protested earnestly that he had no control over the Nagas or any means of checking their raids, while Manipur,whose only system of control consisted in raids as Savage as those of the Nagas themselves.”

On page 158 of the History it runs as: “The Superintendent of Cachar considered that the peace of Manipur and of the Eastern Frontier required that an European officer should reside at Imphal. The capital is 183 miles from Cachar,from which it is separated by seven ranges of hills varying from 2000 to 7000 feet and four large rivers unbridged. Should the political Agent be withdrawn, the wild and savage tribes of Nagas and Kookis, surrounding the valley of Manipur, would be in arms.”
The foregoing paragraphs prove without an iota of doubt that the Nagas remained as Independent as they were in spite of any De facto recognition of authority so far.

Mr. Pemverton’s History corroborates Mr. Alexander MacKenzie’s book quoted in the foregoing paragraphs.
At long last,Manipur was annexed to the British Empire in 1891 and a new chapter in the administration under the arbitrary rule of the Raja. Consequently,the Kuki uprising took place in 1929-20. A few Chiefs were deported to the Andaman Island for life imprisonment. And,since 1920,the Hill administration was detached from the rule of the then Raja and was run by the President,Manipur state Durbar, who was always an European officer of the Raja till the withdrawal of the Paramountcy in 1947.
Again in 1932 a political upheaval convulsed Manipur state, led by Jadonang,a Rongmei Naga of Tamenglong subdivision against the then regime and the British Government. He was captured and hanged while his lieutenant sister, Gaidelie ,was sentenced to undergo life imprisonment. At long last,she was released by our independent Government and decorated by Panditji with the title of ‘Rani’.

In May 1947 the Manipur Constitution was drafted in which, on page 12,the Hill leaders secured incorporation of a clause as:

“The Principle of equality and freedom as applied to all without discrimination of caste, creed and race shall include the right of any section of the Hill people to secede at the end of the five year period, should conditions within the Constitution not be satisfactory.”
On page 10 as,”Finally the committed record that the provisions agreed to in this resolutions of the community represented on the committee reserve the right of complete freedom of action at the end of five year period irrespective of any view expressed in this resolution.”

The integrated Manipur Administration of Hills and valley started functioning on 15th August, 1947 with high handedness and, therefore, the Mao Nagas, in particular, launched a ‘No-Tax’ campaign against the then Government and demanded Naga areas to be merged with Assam as their brethren were already there then. Firing took place at Mao on 27thOctober, 1949,Government of India paid Rs. 20,000/- to the deceased and wounded families, while Shri Prakash,the then Governor of Assam,was the moving spirit behind the payment of the compensation.

The demand for merger with Assam continued unabated and memoranda were submitted to the Prime Minister in 1953 and to the Home Minister, Mr.Pantji,with copy to the then Chief Minister, Assam,Mr Medhi,during Home Minister’s visit to Manipur in 1955. Quote a few memoranda were submitted to the Governor of Assam, Mr. Daulatram,during his official visit to Manipur. We are fortunate in having many of our leaders alive to whom these memoranda were submitted.

In 1960,as a result of an agreement entered into by the Naga peoples’ Convention with the Government of India, the Naga Hills Tuensang Area District of Assam was given statehood and the state of Nagaland was formed.

The Naga areas of Manipur were,however, not included as part of Nagaland. the Naga tribes of Manipur have, from time immemorial, been occupying compact areas immediately contiguous to the present Nagaland state. The total area is about 6000sq miles and population about 2 lakhs. Wherever they are and under whatever administrative setup they may come, Nagas are homogenous people, having distinct culture, Customs,usages,tradition and literature It is this sense of oneness that constitutes the core of the move for integration of Nagas as a whole. It is needless to recount the submission of memoranda to bring Nagas under one administrative setup.

The Nagaland Nationalist Organization of Nagaland submitted a memorandum, with appendices, in June,1968 to Prime Minister. The Naga Integration committee of Manipur submitted to the President, A.I.C.C,during his visit to Manipur on 15th June, 1968,a memorandum, enclosing copies of those submitted previously by different Naga Organization of Manipur to the Government on different occasions. A memorandum was submitted to the Prime Minister in April, 1968 as well.

The upsurge of the Naga political aspirations is mounting day by day and is now being accelerated by the Organizations aforesaid. Quite a large number of educated young men from Manipur joined the under ground Movement, as they found not being able to secure their political aspirations in the last two decades as in other parts of India, viz, vivisection of Punjab, Bombay and Madras states. Had the Central leaders taken the initiative by themselves directly, the present tragedy in Nagaland could have been averted, because the Naga’s Nine-point Agreement with Sir Akbar Hydari was to remain with India and not outside it. Another unhappy incident, viz. boycott of Panditji’s address to Nagas at Kohima in 1953,with a foreign dignitary Mr. U Nu,the premier of Burma, could have also been averted, had the central leaders had a direct hand in the problem of the Eastern Zone. The same is true with the present Government of Manipur and, therefore, we must say to the central Government and leaders to be aware of it.

It may not be out of place to mention here, in brief the mal administration and exploitation carried on by the Government of Manipur in regard to Hill people. The 30% reservation of Cadre III and IV services are never adhered to, since all the Head of Departments are plain Meiteis. Since 1964,no tribal candidates have been selected for interview with the M.P.S.C. for Class II post in spite of the availability of qualified hands. Even for those who are in service, there is practically no security and safeguard, because all sorts of attempts are made to tarnish their service records.The Manipur Government grudge in spending out of the normal budget allotment for Hill areas, except the New Cachar Road which is likely to be a lifeline of the Manipur valley. The benefit accruing to the Hill people is only through the Tribal Welfare Fund which is roughly Rupees 24lakhs annually. Though the declared Government policy is not to divert this fund towards any other purpose except the development of Manipur Hill areas, this is not adhered to by the Manipur Government. One and a half lakhs of Rupees are expended annually towards meeting the expenditure on the Adim Jati Technical institute, Imphal, which is a general institute for all communities. A hostel for the Moirang High School was constructed five years ago out of this Fund in the name of the Hill tribes but it is not actually meant for them. Similarly, in the field of Education, while it is a general practice to impart education upon primary level in mother tongue, the Naga tribes of Manipur have no such facility. Hardly any state scholarship is being awarded to tribal students for post-matric and postgraduate studies.

To mention a few other excesses, indiscriminate extension of Indian Forest Act to the Hill areas of Manipur, the Acquisition of the Chief’s Right Act and the attempt to extend the Manipur Land Revenue Act to the Hill areas have threatened the very existence of the Naga Tribes of Manipur.

Our demand is based on human desires and aspirations than on these considerations. It was in keeping with the human desires and aspirations that the Naga Peoples’ Convention had entered into an agreement with the Government of India, known as the Sixteen-Point Agreement, wherein Clause 13 runs as under:-

13. Consolidation of contiguous Naga areas:
The delegation wished the following to be placed on record:-
The Naga leaders expressed the view that other Nagas inhabiting contiguous areas should be enabled to join the New State. It was pointed out to them on behalf of the Government of India that Articles 3 & 4 of the Constitution provided for increasing the areas of any state but that it was not possible for the Government of India to make any commitment in this regard at this stage.”

The 6th Clause of the Nine-Point Agreement of 1947 between Akbar Hydari and the Nagas runs as:
“To bring under one unified administrative unit as far as possible all Nagas. All the areas so included will be within the scope of the present proposed Agreement.”

Further, the following was passed at the 5th General session of the N.N.O. in January-February, 1968:

“As per agreement between the Naga leaders and the Government of India, this meeting of the N.N.O. strongly urge the Government of India to immediately integrate all contiguous Naga areas with the State of Nagaland. Further,we appeal to all Nagas,who are residing outside
Nagaland, to work for an early integration for which the state of Nagaland has always kept the doors open. Further this general session expresses its deep appreciation to the initiative taken by the Nagas of Manipur areas towards this end.”

It is high time to bring an immediate solution in this regard. The matters are likely to become uncontrollable with the proposed reorganization of Assam.

We wish to stress that we put in our demand within the framework of the Constitution of India and we believe that we shall sufficiently and concretely demonstrate our loyalty to the Government of India.
In fine, we wish to say that integration of all Nagas within one administrative unit will definitely strengthened the hands of the administration of the state of Nagaland and the solution of the present trouble there would become much easier.

In view of the facts enumerated above, we urge the Government of India to look into the matter regarding integration of Manipur Naga areas with the state of Nagaland in all its seriousness and bring about an early solution thereof. We have very hope that your Excellency, the Prime Minister, would give a very sympathetic consideration to our point of view and meet our just demand.

Yours faithfully,
(MONO)
Ex-MLA,
vice-president,
Naga Integration committee and
President, Tengnuopal Naga Union, Manipur.

(RISHANG KEISHING)
Ex-MP,
General Secretary,
Naga Integration Committee.

(S. LARHO)
General Secretary,
Pomei Progressive Union and
Joint Secretary, N.I.C.

(R.S. CHANGSON)
Joint Secretary,
Tankhul Naga Long,Ukhrul.

(N.K. SIM)
General Secretary, Zeliangrong Naga Union, Manipur.
Dated: New Delhi,
the 26th July, 1968.

Copy to:-
1. Shri Y.B. Chavan,
Minister for Home Affairs,
GOI,New Delhi.

2. Shri B.R. Bhagat,
Minister of State External Affairs,
GOI,New Delhi.

3. Shri B.K. Nehru,
Governor of Assam and Nagaland,
Raj Bhavan,Shillong.

4. Shri T.N. Angami,
Chief Minister,Nagaland,
P.O. Kohima.

5. Shri Baleshwar Prasad,
Chief Commissioner,
Manipur, Imphal.

6. Shri M. Koirang Singh,
Chief Minister,
Manipur, Imphal.

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