Imphal: In a surprise development amid the ongoing Naga peace talks between the government of India and the National Socialist Council of Nagaland (NSCN-IM), in which both parties are believed to be in the final leg of their negotiations, two dissident leaders of Manipur on Tuesday announced a Manipur ‘government in exile’ in London in the UK, said reports.
As per reports, the two leaders — identified as Yamben Biren and Narengbam Samarjit and who claimed to represent the titular king Leishemba Sanajaoba — announced that they have formally launched a ‘government in exile’ called ‘the Manipur State Council’ during a press conference held in the British capital on Tuesday.
In the ‘press meet’, Biren and Samarjit, who claimed themselves as the ‘chief minister’ and ‘minister of external affairs and defence’, respectively, for the newly launched ‘government in exile’, said that the ‘Manipur State Council’ will be based in Central London, reports said.
However, in an interview taken by local media soon after the story went viral on social media, titular king Sanajaoba refuted about having any knowledge about the ‘shocking development’ announced by his associates.
Sanajaoba said that the news physically ‘shook’ him. Although he gave his consent to his associates, it was never meant to go to such an extent as he was only informed about collecting important documents regarding the past British colonial rule.
The titular king clearly dissociated himself from the contentious issue and said that such an event creates bad energy in society.
Meanwhile, in the press conference in London, the duo also produced documents of their asylum status being granted in the United Kingdom. “We believe that now is the right time to make public the Independence Government of Manipur before the international community to announce our independent status and to seek recognition. We call on all the government of the sovereign states of the members of the United Nations for the recognition of the de jure and exile Government of Manipur from today onwards [sic],” they told reporters during the press meet.
“The three million people in the state want recognition as one of the precious native nations. And our attempts to engage with the Indian government were met with hate and hostilities,” they said in the press meet.
Manipur is being ruled through draconian laws by the Indian government “under the Republic Constitution of India including Arm Forces (Special Powers) Act, 1958”, they added.
Blaming on the extra-judicial cases and threats from various factors, the duo informed that they were forced to take such a step outside their homeland.
“It was not possible for us to declare the independence of Manipur while in India because we, the Councillors of the Manipur State Council, would have faced arrest, torture and extra-judicial killings at the hands of the Indian government,” they added.