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2 Manipur rebels declare 'govt in exile' in London

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A deserted street in Imphal during a shutdown on Thursday

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London/New Delhi: Two dissident leaders from Manipur have declared "independence" of the northeastern Indian state and set up a "government in exile" in London, claiming support from the state's ex-king Leishemba Sanajaoba. However, the erstwhile ruler has denied he has ever backed such a move.

The two persons, Yamben Biren, who called himself 'Chief Minister of Manipur State Council', Aand Samarjit, the so-called 'Minister of External Affairs & Defence of Manipur State Council', addressed a press conference in London, to declare the "independent state".

They alleged "inhuman torture and killing of innocent people of Manipur" by the government and said the merger of the state with India was "against the monarchic state of Manipur". They also said the "de jure government is virtually in the hands of the Maharaja of Manipur".

The two addressed a press conference in London, with a banner behind them that read 'Declaration of Independence of Manipur from India on Oct 29 in London'.

According to people in Imphal who declined to be identified, the merger agreement inked between the then Maharaja of Manipur in 1949 was done in "a controversial way", without getting it approved by the assembly.

Samarjit is said to be a well-known businessman of Manipur.

The Manipur Maharaja Leishemba Sanajaoba has in a statement denied he ever gave approval for the two persons to declare independence.

Chief Minister N. Biren Singh has said that the case is being probed.

Interestingly, Pakistani media has gone to town to broadcast the news of the two rebels declaring an "independent state of Manipur".

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