Imphal: The Manipur Legislative Assembly has on Friday unanimously resolved to reaffirm the resolution No.86 passed by the House on August 1, 2003 urging the Government of India to record ‘Sanamahi Religion’ in the census report and also allot a separate code number of the religion in the census operation.
Raising the issue as a private member resolution in the House, MLA Kh Ibomcha said that Sanamahi religion has been widely followed by indigenous Meetei, Kabui and others since time immemorial. He recollected that on July 31, 2002, the then MLA O Joy raised a private member resolution in the House, following which a House Committee was constituted with the then Art & Culture Minister Dr M Nara Singh as Chairman, former Minister Gaikhangam, Chief Minister N Biren, former MLAs DK Korungthang, O Joy Dr Nimaichand Luwang, MLA Y Irabot, BD Behring and L Ibomcha as Members.
The House resolved to urge the GoI to record Sanamahi religion in the census report and also allot a separate code number in the census operation. In census of India 2011, only six religions namely Hindu, Muslim, Shikh, Christian, Budhists, and Jain were recorded with separate code numbers, he said.
The MLA maintained that Manipur was a princely State and was never within the territory of India before its merger to India in 1949. According to the terms and conditions of the Merger Agreement 1949, the GoI shall also undertake to make suitable provisions for employment of Manipuris in various branches of public services and in every way encourage Manipuris to join them.
Under article 8 (3) of the Merger Agreement, the GoI shall also undertake to preserve various laws, customs and conventions prevailing in the State pertaining to social, economic and religious life to the people. Besides, Article 25 (1) of the Indian constitution also prescribes freedom of conscience, free profession, practice and propagation of religion subject to public order, morality and health, he said.
Ibomcha said that the Indian Constitution also prescribes protection of the minority of any section of citizens residing in the country having distinct
language, script, culture of its own, therefore it is justified to urge the
Centre to allot a separate code number for Sanamahi religion.
Opposition MLA K Meghachandra also supported the motion observing that the issue is the need of the hour. He said that status and development of the indigenous people who are following Sanamahi will be strengthened if Sanamahi religion is recognised and allotted a separate code number.
Chief Minister Biren while supporting the motion said that the House passed the resolution urging the GoI to record Sanamahi religion in the census report and allot separate code for it.
Manipur was a princely State with distinct language, script, culture, customs and religion. Manipuri language has been included in the 8th Schedule of the Indian Constitution and Meetei Mayek has also been implemented in schools and colleges. Majority of people in the valley worship Sanamahi. The motion is justified, the Chief Minister said. Later, the House unanimously passed the resolution.