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Lieutenant Simpson reported to Colonel Skene that Jubraj had not been seized and that Lieutenant Brankenbury's whereabouts were not known. Colonel Skene with about 100 men reached the north end of the Jubraj's enclosure about 9.30 a.m. Colonel Skene wanted to make an attack on the inner Palace enclosure. However, he decided to give up the action as he found that the ammunition was too low for such as assault. He accordingly returned to the Residency for consultation with the Chief Commissioner.

Quinton, the Chief Commissioner of Assam and Colonel Skene discussed the situation and at about 8 p.m. 'CEASE-FIRE' was sounded from the side of the British, Mr. Quinton sent a letter to the Regent regarding the terms and conditions to the Regent for withdrawing the British Garrison.

The letter from the Chief Commissioner to the Regent was translated by Sri Bamon Charan Mukherjee, Clerk of the Regent Kulachandra at about 9.30 p.m. of 24.3.91. The letter demanded the condition of the Manipuris on which they have to announce cease-fire. It also demanded time to be given to the Chief Commissioner of Assam for communicating with the Viceroy of India and also to repair telegraph.

The Regent Kulachandra acknowledged the receipt of the letter from the Chief Commissioner. The condition given by the Regent to the Chief Commissioner for ceasing fire on the British was that the British should 'threw down their arms and accounterments'. The letter which was in Bengali was translated very slowly by Mr Cossins and Mr Grimwood. There was different meanings for the word 'surrender' in Bengali between the two translators. The Bengali version was 'Jadi Ashtra Shastra Bheliya Debo'.

According to Mr. Cossins it was literal surrender of arms. But Mr. Grimwood took that it was merely cessation of fighting and the word meant 'let go your arms.' When the discussion was going on as to the precise meaning of the word 'Surrender' in Bengali, the Chief Commissioner of Assam suggested that the Jubraj whom they knew was at the west gate of the enclosure should be asked to explain the meaning of the word.

Mr Grimwood enquired from the Manipuri messenger whether the Chief Commissioner or some of the Party could see the Jubraj. The messanger replied in the affirmative. The Chief Commissioner then enquired as to the safety for the Party to go out. Mr Grimwood said that the messenger being an important person in the Jubraj's household, he would take an oath to the effect that the Party should be safe if they went out. The messenger also strengthened the confidence of Mr Grimwood further when he said 'Why should we harm you who are our God?'.

The speech of the Manipuri messenger was translated by Mr Grimwood to the Chief Commissioner. The Chief Commissioner decided to see the Regent A party consisting of the Chief Commissioner of Assam Colonel Skene of 44th Gurkha Rifles, Mr. Grimwood, Political Agent in Manipur, Mr Cossins, Assistant Secretary to the Chief Commissioner of Assam and Lt. Simpson of 43rd Gurkha Rifles left the British Treasury at about half past eight of 24th March, 1891 to see the Regent. At the time of their start, Colonel Skene ordered Lieutenant J. Chatterton to send out some chairs as they were going to stop half way between the corner of the Residency and the West Gate of the Manipuri Pat.

After some time Lukhramba, Bishambor and a British sepoy reported to Angou Sana, Senapati about the coming of the Chief Commissioner and his party at the West Gate of the Pat.45 On the order of Angousana Senapati, Haobam Dewan, a Magistrate was sent out of the Pat to accompany the Chief Commissioner and his party inside the Pat. Haobam Dewan met the British Party near the big tree in front of the Treasury.

The Political Agent on seeing the Dewan explained to the Chief Commissioner that the Dewan had come. Then the five 'Sahibs' and a bugler proceeded towards the Pat. Haobam Dewan overtook the Chief Commissioner and his party. He reached the West Gate of the Pat earlier than the Chief Commissioner and his party. He reported the arrival of the party to Angou Sana, Senapati. The Chief Commissioner and his party were standing about ten yeards from the Manipuris insided the Gate.

Haobam Dewan went out to introduce the Chief Commissioner and his party to Aya Purel Nilmani Singh. The British Party entered the Pat with Aya Purel Nilmani Singh through the West gate. At that time Thangal General was present at the West Gate. He gave a warning to the Chief Commissioner and his party that it was not advisable for the British Officers to come to the Palace Enclosure at that time of night.

The Palace enclosure had a large number of excited armed Manipuris. He asked them to return to the British Residency to hold a Darbar the next day. On hearing this from Thangal General, Yenkhoiba Major replied that the Jubraj had directed the British Officers to come inside the Palace enclosure.

The Darbar between the British Officers and the Manipuris was held on the road in front of the Darbar House of the Manipuri Palace. The British Officers were seated facing the Darbar House. On the Manipuri side, Tikendrajit Jubraj, Thangal General, Colonel Shamu, Giridhari Singh, Angou Ningthou, Haobam Dewan and Chongtha Mia were present. The Jubraj and Thangal General insisted on the surrender of the arms by the British.

The Chief Commissioner replied that they could not give up their arms as they belonged to the Government of India. The proceedings of the Darbar were not reduced into writting. The Darbar broke up after about an hour since no satisfactory settlement could be arrived at between the British Officers and the Manipuris. The Chief Commissioner announced that there would be a Darbar the next morning. As soon as the British Officers got up to go away there was a great shouting by the people around the Darbar.

As directed by the Jubraj Tikendra, Haobam Dewan accompanied the British Officers to see them off out in safety. There was a door near the dragons about fifty yards from where the Darbar was held. The door was suddenly closed down and the British Officers were surrounded by the excited and infuriated people. The crowd began to hustle and hit the British Officers with butt ends of their rifles shouting 'Kill, Kill'.

In the melee Lieutenant Simpson was severely wounded. Angom Ningthou placed himself in front of the British Officers. He warned the people to go away and in that manner the party gradually got back at the gate of the Darbar Hall of the Manipuri Palace. As the British Officers reached the steps of the Darbar House, the yelling crowd again made a rush towards the British Officers. Mr. Grimwood, the Political Agent in Manipur was speared to death by one Kajao Jemandar.

The British Officers were detained in the Darbar House for about two hours. After that they were taken to the green space in front of the dragons where they were beheaded by the public executioner under orders of Thangal General and Jubraj Tikendra.

The attack on the British Residency by the Manipuris from inside the Pat renewed when the British Officers were in the Darbar Hall before their execution.49 The Manipuri Offensive was so strong that the escort party of the Chief Commissioner in the compound of the Residency could not hold their possition. At the same time the British reported the shortage of ammunitions. The British Officers in the Residency therefore decided to retire immediately that very night towards Cachar. At about 2 a.m. the British including Mrs. Grimwood, wife of Mr. Grimwood left the Residency.

Lord Landsdowne, Viceroy and Governor General of India got the news of the failure to arrest Jubraj Tikendra on the night of Sunday, the 29th March, 1891 at Nainital. He heard that the British Officers including Mr. J.W. Quinton, the Chief Commissioner of Assam were in the hands of the Manipuris as war prisoners. He immediately abandoned his projected tour into the Kumaon Hills and hastily came to Simla. He summoned his Council at one. Advance of the British troops to Manipur from three directions viz. North, West and East- Kohima, Silchar and Burma was ordered.

The force was styled as the "Manipur Field Force". The three columns of the British force sent to Manipur were known as Kohima Column, Silchar Column and Tamu Column. The Kohima Column consisted of No. 8 (Bengal) Mountain Battery with four guns, the 13th Regiment of Bengal Infantry and the 36th (Sikh) Regiment of Bengal Infantry. The Silchar Column consisted of No. 8 (Bengal) Mountain Battery with two guns, the Calcutta Volunteer Rifles Corps Infantry, the 18th Regiment of Bengal Infantry with six companies and the 1 st Battalion 2nd Gurkha Regiment.

The Tamu Column was formed by No. 2 Mountain Battery, Royal Artillery with four guns, 2nd Battalion Oxfordshire Light Infantry with 200 men, 4th Battalion King's Royal Rifle Corps (half battalion), 2nd Battalion 4th Gurkha Regiment, 12th Regiment (2nd Burma Battalion) of Madras Infantry, and 32nd Regiment (4th Burma Battalion) of Madras Infantry. Brigadier General H. Collett, C.B. Staff Corps, Commanding the Assam District was the Commander of the Kohima Column. Lieutenant Colonel R.H.F. Rennick, 18th Bengal Infantry commanded the Silchar Column. Brigadier General T. Graham, C.B. Royal Artillery, Commanding the Myintgyan District, Burma commanded the Tamu Column.

Brigadier General Collett, C.B. was to take over the command of the united column when the three columns met at Manipur.52 The Government of India issued the first instructions to the Officer Commanding the Manipur Field Force on April 6,1891. By this time, the Government of India believed that the Chief Commissioner of Assam and his party were still war prisoners in the hands of the Manipuris.

He was, therefore, instructed to make conditions to the Manipuris about the release of the prisoners. He was to make promise immunity from punishment with death or transportation of life to any person in case the persons were found not guilty of actual murder. He was to make these offer only when the Manipuri Darbar made conditions about the release of the prisoners. The Government of India took the release of the prisoners as the most important objective.

The Officer Commanding was therefore given liberty to use his discretion to secure the best means of ensuring the release of the prisoners. In ensuring the release of the prisoners, he was even authorised not to have telegraphic communication with the Government of India.

The Officer Commanding was to reassert the Political supermacy of the British Government on Manipur. He was therefore to enforce the unconditional submission of the Manipur Darbar.

to be continued.....

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