Quoting news reports published in a section of the media at Imphal, Johnson made this assertion while speaking to media persons at their Lamphelpat office today.
There were reports about Gorkha people carrying out wall-poster campaign for a militant group named United Gorkha People’s Front (UGPF).
Even today, walls painted with UGPF in red colour can be seen at public places.
There was no harm when the United Gorkha Committee Manipur (UGCM) contradicted presence of any Gorkha militant group but it was simply unacceptable if they claim themselves as indigenous or native people of Manipur, Johnson asserted.
|Manipur Imphal Map|
Already, many indigenous communities of the State have been undertaking political movements which are primarily driven by ethno-exclusive political aspirations. If non-indigenous people too join this bandwagon, the threat to Manipur’s integrity would only multiply.
The UCM has been/would be fighting against all attempts to jeopardise the integrity of Manipur, Johnson asserted.
He then appealed to all communities of the State not to launch political movements driven by ethno-exclusive or parochial aspirations.
Affirming UGCM’s statement that Nepalese and Gorkhas came to Manipur around 1920, Johnson said that during those times the Foreign Department set up under the Maharaja-in-Council collected taxes from foreign immigrants as well as for the cattle they brought with them. Under the same system, taxes were also collected from Gorkhas.
When Manipur regained independence in 1947, the Manipur State Council granted citizenship to 1000 Gorkhas under the Manipur Nationalisation Act 1947.
Again, many Gorkhas were granted citizenship under the Foreigners Permission Act enacted in 1958 after Manipur was merged into the Indian Union. The same Act was amended in 1978 and all the Gorkhas who came to Manipur after 1978 were assumed as foreigners. By this time, a large number of Gorkhas had already settled in Manipur, Johnson said.
In similar fashion, large number of Marwaris, Telis and Bengalis settled in Manipur.
Yet, UCM is not opposed to any particularly community. They may claim as citizens of Manipur but it is unacceptable if they go to the extent of claiming themselves as indigenous or native people of Manipur, Johnson added.