Muivah defers visit to Manipur at PMO's request

Muivah defers visit to Manipur at PMO's request

Muivah defers visit to Manipur at PMO's request

NSCN (I-M) General-Secretary Thuingaleng Muivah holds a traditional Naga spear at a felicitation in Viswema village, Nagaland, on Wednesday. PTI

"Since the PMO (Prime Minister's Office) has requested us to wait for things to settle down, we cannot disregard the request," senior NSCN-IM functionary Phungthing Shimrang said, adding Muivah was, however, determined to head for Somdal in Ukhrul district at any cost.

"It is up to the government of India how fast it can handle the present situation and create a congenial situation for our general secretary to visit his native village without any hindrance," he told reporters.

"Now the ball is in the government's court and we are waiting for its response," Phungthing said. He, however, asserted that Muivah was determined to head for Ukhrul at any cost.Muivah's visit has been opposed by Manipur government on the ground it would disturb communal amity in the state.

The Manipur government had clamped prohibitory orders and deployed police in strength at the Mao inter-state check gate fearing breach of communal harmony if the NSCN-IM leader was allowed entry. Shops and business establishments remained closed in response to a strike called by the All-Manipur United Clubs' Organisation opposing Muivah's visit, which it claimed was to divide the state.

Transport services between Manipur and neighbouring states were cancelled in view of the strike which began at 6 pm on Thursday.Meanwhile, six Naga MLAs in Manipur resigned in protest against the state government disallowing Muivah to enter the state. The MLAS, all Independents were camping in Delhi and sent their resignation letters to Manipur Speaker Budhi Singh by fax, assembly sources in Imphal said.

NSCN-IM has been demanding a 'greater Nagaland' by merging Naga-populated areas of adjoining states but the idea has been rejected by Manipur, Assam and Arunachal Pradesh.

Manipur Chief Minister Ibobi Singh flew to Delhi yesterday and briefed Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Union Home Minister P Chidamabaram on the situation in his state.
Muivah who set out for his native village on Wednesday to meet his family and friends has been camping at Viswema village near the Nagaland-Manipur border.

On Thursday three among a crowd on the Manipur side of the border at the Mao check gate waiting to welcome Muivah were killed in a stampede when police fired teargas shells to disperse them after they became restive and torched a vehicle of the India Reserve Battalion.

Nagaland Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio in a statement said "It is unfortunate that the brute forces of the state government are being blatantly used to suppress the genuine voice and democratic rights of the people enshrined in the Constitution."