Two dissident leaders set up Manipur’s “government in exile” in the United Kingdom on Tuesday in the name of King Leishemba Sanajaoba, PTI reported.

The two separatists, who addressed a press conference in London, identified themselves as Yamben Biren – the “chief minister of Manipur State Council” – and Narengbam Samarjit, who claimed to be the council’s “minister of external affairs and defence”.

They claimed to have been granted political asylum in the United Kingdom in August. As a result, “the de jure government is shifted from Manipur to London”, Biren and Samarjit added. They claimed the “sovereign state of Manipur” was excluded from India by the Manipur king’s order in council on December 27, 1946, and accused the Indian government of annexing the state in 1949.

“We believe that now is the right time to make public the independent government of Manipur before the international community and seek recognition,” they told reporters. “We call on all the governments of the sovereign states of the members of the United Nations for their recognition of the de jure and exile government of Manipur from today onwards.”

The dissidents claimed their “attempts to engage with the Indian government were met with hate and hostilities”. Biren and Samarjit claimed there were “more than 1,528 cases of extrajudicial killings” pending in Supreme Court.

However, according to the clipping of a newspaper tweeted by political activist Angellica Aribam, Sanajaoba has distanced himself from the two dissidents.

According to Aribam, Sanajaoba said he was unaware of the declaration, and claimed he had been made to sign some documents by Biren and Samarjit on the pretext of acquiring some Manipur-related documents and pictures from London.

Case filed against separatists

Manipur Chief Minister N Biren Singh said the government has taken the matter seriously and registered a case against the separatists for waging war against the state, according to ANI. “The case has been handed over to Special Crime Branch for immediate investigation,” he added. “After finding the details the case will be handed over to the National Investigation Agency because they are operating from other countries.”

Manipur’s erstwhile king Leishemba Sanajaoba also distanced himself from the move by the two leaders. “I condemn this in the strongest term, it was shocking that they dragged my name,” he said. “This will create negative energy in society.”