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Plea to Muivah to defer visit
Muivah at Viswema village on Wednesday. Picture by
Eastern Projections

May 5: Naga organisations have asked NSCN (I-M) general secretary Thuingaleng Muivah to defer tomorrow’s visit to Manipur till a more congenial atmosphere sets in.

The Manipur government, headed by Okram Ibobi Singh, stayed adamant on not allowing Muivah to enter the state, fearing it would stoke tension. The state has some Naga-dominated areas which Muivah’s group wants to be part of a greater Nagalim. Muivah’s native village also falls in Manipur, where he is planning to go after 40 years.

With tension brewing over the proposed trip, the Naga Mothers’ Association, Naga Students’ Federation and the Naga People’s Movement for Human Rights requested Muivah to defer the visit.

Before the appeal, sources at Viswema village in Nagaland, where Muivah is halting for the night, had said he would proceed with security forces between 6am and 7am tomorrow if the Manipur government did not lift the ban on his visit by evening.

Muivah was provided with a chopper but he refused to use it. “He wanted to go by road,” a senior NSCN (I-M) functionary said at Viswema, about 6km from Moa Gate, an entry point to Manipur from Nagaland. The Nagaland government is not against Muivah proceeding to Manipur.

NSCN (I-M) sources said they were in touch with the security forces to break the barricades of Manipur police at Mao Gate and elsewhere in the state.

At a public meeting this evening, Muivah advocated a phasewise solution to the Naga problem. His statement assumes significance as the Centre had also suggested this. He, however, said the NSCN (I-M) would not compromise on its Nagalim demand and would never surrender to the Indian government.

Ibobi Singh will leave for Delhi by a special aircraft being sent by the home ministry at 7am tomorrow. Ibobi Singh is expected to ask the Centre to reconsider its decision to allow Muivah to visit Manipur.

Home minister P. Chidambaram is understood to have asked Ibobi Singh this evening to facilitate Muivah’s visit to his native village, Somdal, in Ukhrul district.

“The Union home minister telephoned the Manipur CM in front of me and asked him to allow Muivah to visit his village,” Nagaland chief minister Neiphiu Rio said after meeting Chidambaram in New Delhi with a request for intervention. The home minister’s office declined to comment on Rio’s claim.

Rio said Muivah would spend the night on the Nagaland-Manipur border, “reach his village tomorrow and spend a couple of days there”.

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