House for amendment of Article 3
Source: The Sangai Express

Imphal, July 09 2010: The Manipur State Assembly has unanimously resolved to urge New Delhi to amend Article 3 of the Indian Constitution and keep Manipur outside the ambit of the said Article so as to guarantee status quo of the territorial integrity of Manipur.

A resolution to this effect was passed after discussing a private motion put up by Opposition leader Radhabinod Koijam and Th Nandakishore.

Raising the motion, Radhabinod questioned how can the territory of Manipur be protected when the boundary of the State was not clearly known to the people.

The exact boundary of Manipur has blurred since 1971, he said.

Noting the demand of NSCN-IM for formation of Nagalim by annexing ninth-tenth of Manipur's territory, Radhabinod envisaged that in such an event, the total population would raise to 35 lakhs from the present figure of just 16 lakhs.

Likewise, the territory of Nagaland would expand from 16,579 sq Kms to 1.20 lakh sq Kms.

"Can Manipur exist in such a scenario?", the former Chief Minister asked.

Hailing the decision of the State Government to bar entry of NSCN-IM General Secretary Th Muivah to Manipur, who was set to campaign for the creation of Nagalim in Manipur, Radhabinod pointed out the need to amend Article 3 of the Indian Constitution so as to allay the fear of the Manipuri people regarding territorial integrity of the State.

Article 3 which is hanging like a sword over the head of Manipuri people allows re-arrangement of State boundaries as well as creation of new States, by the Centre.

Pointing out the possibility of the same article being used against the interest of Manipur, the Opposition leader urged the House to take a resolution for amendment of Article 3 and to exempt Manipur from the article, and to dispatch the same resolution to the Govt of India for prompt and necessary action.

Taking part in the discussion, Health and Family Welfare Minister Ph Parijat observed that the lurking challenges to the territorial integrity have been keeping the people on tenterhooks.

Noting that the people of Manipur have never been taken into confidence in the ongoing peace talk between New Delhi and NSCN-IM, Parijat endorsed the proposal for amendment of Article 3 .

In his response, Revenue Minister Th Debendra recalled that the State Assembly had adopted resolutions to safeguard the territorial integrity of Manipur six times earlier in conformity to people's wish.

Although the Government of India has repeatedly assured status quo of the territory of Manipur, Article 3 has been causing an uneasy feeling among the Manipuri people like a snake crawling under bed.

Areas where there are boundary disputes due to absence of boundary pillars or landmarks would be identified soon.

For this, efforts are underway to constitute a high power committee, Debendra said.

Stating that the Government has no objection to the private motion, Debendra, however, said that a resolution may be adopted after making necessary omissions and commissions in its wording so as to lend it more force.

The House members also agreed to pass the resolution after making necessary corrections.