April 24, 1830, Govindchandra was murdered in his Capital15. On the
previous night a gang of Manipuris in concert with some attendants entered the
royal apartment and killed the Raja and several members of his family and set
fire to the palace. On receiving the news Mr. Furgund, the Magistrate of
Sylhet, hurriedly posted a detachment to Cachar and reported the matter to the
Government of Bengal. The Government appointed Lieutenant Fisher, who was by
then on survey duties at Sylhet to take temporary charge of the administration
in Cachar with the powers of a magistrate and collector16.
was strongly suspected that Gambhir Singh instigated the murder of the Raja of
Cachar. It was also believed that Tularam had a secret hand in the murder of
the Raja17. Ram Govind, acting vakeel on the part of the British
Government at the Court of Raja Govindchandra was suspected to be privy to the
whole plot18. Kirparam Brahman Cachar in his deposition19
stated that he had seen about thirty Manipuris with ‘muskets and sword’
which belonged to the late Raja of Cachar and the ‘Golden necklace’ of the
late Raja on the neck of the one of the Sirdars. He further pointed out that
one Suntaba, blind in one eye, a subject of Gambhir singh had in retaliation
for some previous offence, killed Govindchandra with a sword20. The
depositions of the persons who were connected with the crime established
reasonably that Gambhir Singh sent his agent to Cachar to kill Govindchandra21.
Evidence proved that a party of armed men from without, assisted undoubtedly
by some of the Siphahis on the Raja’s own service, penetrated the interior
of his dwelling and murdered him there. Lieutenant Fisher, after making a
through and detailed study of the case, opined that the assistance of domestic
conspiracy was more certain than was at first supposed and that the Raja was
murdered through the machination of Gambhir Singh. Though there were
considerable number of Cacharis holding situation in the Raja’s family about
the time of his murder, there was no direct proof of their participation in
the crime22. Fisher further reported that though the murder was
committed by the followers of Gambhir Singh and probably by his orders, yet
several principal Cacharis in the Raja’s family were also more or less
implicated. It was even possible that the conspiracy might have been parched
among the junior officers without the direct concurrence of Gambhir Singh23.
However, a close examination of the evidence indicated the complicity of
Government of Bengal wrote that the presumptive proof against Gambhir Singh as
the instigator of the murder was very strong24. While doing so the
Government also considered the repeated disputes between the two chiefs over
several matters and only about a fortnight before the occurrence,
Govindchandra had to solicit the Agent to the Governor-General for military
aid against Gambhir Singh, who was reported to have despatched a force to
seize Cachar in concert with Tularam. The Agent, therefore, asked Gambhir
Singh to tender his explanations for the charge made against him in connection
with the murder of Govindchandra and to surrender Heeranund, Suntaba and such
others who were suspected to be involved in the crime25. However,
the Government of Bengal did not approve of the suggestion to arrest Gambhir
Singh in the event of his visit in Sylhet26.
claimants appeared to the vacant throne of Cachar. Gambhir Singh requested the
Government of Bengal to allow him to hold the country of Cachar for twenty
years in return for an annual revenue of Rs. 15,00027. Captain
Grant supported Gambhir Singh’s claim. He was under the impression that the
acquisition of Cachar by the latter would provide him with sufficient means to
build up a stable and efficient Government so necessary for the security of
the North Eastern Frontier. If Cachar be ceded to the Raja of Manipur, Grant
also believed that there were ample chances for assimilation of the two
peoples in Cachar and Manipur who had been warring all along with each other28.
Cachar being separated from Manipur by a series of ranges of hills and deep
rives and its inhabitants speaking a dialect quite different from the language
of the Manipuris, Captains Jenkins and Pemberton did not support Grant’s
argument. They, therefore, opposed Gambhir Singh’s claim on Cachar. The
Government of Bengal concurred with the arguments of Jenkins and Pemberton.
Moreover, on the receipt of the proceedings of the murder of the late Raja,
the Supreme Government felt it impolitic to permit Gambhir Singh to profit by
a crime which was suspected to have committed at his instigation and deemed it
inexpedient to transfer the country of Cachar to the Raja of Manipur.
Accordingly Cachar was annexed on August 14, 1832.