For the first time after Manipur was merged with Independent India in 1949, border issue with other Indian state marred the suzerainty of erstwhile Manipur kingdom. If Manipur claims the traditional boundaries of the past, then the size of Manipur will be 10 times of the present state. The controversial yet illegal claim by Southern Angami Public Organisation (SAPO) and Tenyimi People’s Organisation (TPO) to resolve boundary dispute between Manipur and Nagaland in the traditional ownership create misunderstanding among the two states which shares common history.
The TPO was reported to allege the Manipur government and charges that in spite of appeals and communications by the organisation, Manipur remains hell-bent on defying the good intentions of the people working towards amicable resolution of the dispute and restoration of healthy relationship.
Weak governments in the past never work to protect the boundaries of Manipur. However, the BJP led government under the leadership of CM N Biren Singh is very serious on protecting and preserving the territorial boundaries of the State.
While searching Google map, one could see several structures and places which represents Nagaland within the territory of Manipur. Is this mischief of some people or deliberately done by some organisations with a hidden agenda?
It is normal for every strong government to control its boundaries by deploying security forces. The natural resources and the people must be preserved and protected from encroachers. Kezoltsa, where Manipur government has opened a police station is very much within the territory of Manipur. Kezoltsa is a thickly forested area near Dzuko Valley which provides water to several villages of Manipur around Mao and Maram region.
The Angamis are also claiming Dzuko valley belongs to Nagaland state, despite the fact that two third of the valley lies within Manipur. They are also crying that the Angami tribal ancestral land was “unfairly” made a part of Manipur by the British in the colonial era.
If we go back to the colonial era, then the present Nagaland state will never existed now. If certain organisations like SAPO and TPO wants to resolve the border issues traditionally, then Kohima must be handed over to Manipur as it lies within the traditional boundary of Manipur state. We have records and documents about the Angamis and other tribes paying tributes and accepting the rule of Manipur over Kohima in 1833.
In 1833, Meetei Ningthou Gambhir Singh conquered Thibomei (present day Kohima). He stayed there for a month. The Angami tribes gave 100 bullocks to him. In exchange for the release of captives, they gave another 100 bullocks. During his stay in Thibomei, the Ngamai khullen and Ngamai khunou villagers came to Meetei Ningthou and declared submission, giving 400 bullocks, elephant tusk and 200 baskets of teel seeds.
Meetei Ningthou Gambhir Singh put his footprints sculptured on a stone in token of conquest in Thibomei on 10th February 1833. This stone erection ceremony was performed with the Naga villagers. On this day, Mera Mechamai, Tonloi, Chamai, Pettamai Khunou and Khullen, Uttu Washamai, Wahamai, Khisami villagers gave 600 heads of Cattle as tributes.
Never in the long history of Manipur and Nagaland, has such border issue arisen. It is unfortunate that Nagaland government remain a mute spectator on the illegal demands of some organisations. Manipur government have already informed them about the issue, reconfirming that the structures and armed personnel deployed are within the territory of Manipur state. Manipur people want peaceful co existence and unity among the neighbouring states, traditional boundary are means to refresh the aged old relationship. We need to accept the territorial boundary given to us after merging with India.