Normal life was paralysed in Manipur on Saturday due to a complete shutdown called by banned outfits in protest against the merger of the state with India on October 15, 1949. The 18-hour general strike was called from Friday midnight by the Coordination Committee (Corcom) of the six outlawed underground organisations.
All educational institutes, government offices, shops and business establishments remained shut and vehicles were off the roads in response to the shutdown call. Security was tightened in all vulnerable areas as officials feared an outbreak of violence. Inter-state buses and trucks were stranded beyond Manipur’s borders.
A statement issued by Corcom said King Budhachandra of Manipur was summoned to Shillong, then in undivided Assam, for signing the merger agreement on September 21, 1949. However, the merger agreement was officially announced on October 15, 1949, to synchronise with the merger of Tripura.
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A public convention held recently in Imphal declared the agreement as null and void, saying Manipur had an elected assembly and that the king was merely a constitutional head at the time of the merger. The king, according to the Corcom, had no power to sign such documents without approval from the elected house.