Imphal, Nov 28: United National Liberation Front (UNLF) supremo, Rajkumar Meghen alias Sanayaima, returned to is expected to his hometown Manipur after a gap of 44 long years on Thursday.
Thousands of people thronged the Bir Tikendrajit international airport, which is named after Meghen’s great grandfather, Prince Tikendrajit, who was hanged to death on 13 Aug 1891 by the British Empire for waging war against the Empire.
The UNLF leader, who had waged a war against the Indian state in his fight for a sovereign homeland, was given received by members of different Meira Paibi meira organisations at the airport arrival gate.
He went in an open vehicle waving to people all the way from the airport to his residence.
Meghen, who was whisked away to New Delhi by NIA officials on November 11 after he completed his ten year sentence in Guwahati Central Jail on November 10, was accompanied by his son R. K. Chinglen and his legal counsel M. Gunedhor Singh from New Delhi.
Earlier, Meghen’s wife has sought permission from police to allow her husband to visit Kangla.
Meghen, a post-graduate on international relations, joined the UNLF a rebel group in 1967. The UNLF was raised in 1964 to fight for Manipur’s independence.
After becoming Chief of UNLF in 1998, he worked hard to form a joint front of all Manipur based militants and formed Manipur People’s Liberation Front (MPLF) in 1999 .
Meghen, who is the direct descendant of Manipur’s legendary hero Bir Tikendrajit who fought the British during the 1891 Anglo-British war and was hanged by them, was arrested in Bangladesh in September 2010, though Indian agencies showed him arrested in Motihari , Bihar in December 2010.
He was convicted to 10 years rigorous imprisonment in 2016, though the National Investigation Agency had appealed for life sentence.
17 other UNLF rebels were convicted to seven to ten years in jail in the same case.
During the sentence hearing, Meghen did not seek leniency but remain defiant, quoting from Fidel Castro to justify his fight .
” I am not fighting to secede from India, but to regain Manipur’s freedom that the British and then India snatched away,” he had told mediapersons outside the court .
NIA filed the case in 2010 against the accused persons including RK Meghen under sections 120 B, 121, 121 (A) and 122 of IPC.
The NIA chargesheet accused Meghen and other UNLF leaders of holding several meetings in China in 2009 to secure arms for his rebel group.