National Socialist Council of Nagaland (NSCN-IM) leader T Muivah was left ruing the central government's failure to persuade Manipur to allow him visit his native village in the state, an official said, but the Naga leader has acceded to the government's request to defer his visit for now.
"Even the Indian government cannot persuade a state government to allow me reach my own ancestral village," lamented the NSCN-IM general secretary to Home Secretary GK Pillai, as the latter conveyed to him on Wednesday the Manipur government's strong reservation against allowing him to visit his village.
Speaking about Pillai's two-day visit to Manipur and Nagaland, a senior home ministry official told reporters that the home secretary had to assuage Muivah's feeling of hurt by citing the constitutional provision that law and order was the state subject and a state government can deny anybody access to any part of its territory, if it apprehends a breach of law and order.
In a federal structure, the central government can do precious little, it was explained to Muivah, the ministry official said.
Pillai had to cite past examples where even ministers and senior leaders like Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) stalwarts L.K. Advani and Sushma Swaraj had been denied access by the West Bengal and Orissa governments in the past.
Muivah was told that as the state government does not deem the situation conducive for his visit to his native village, the central government cannot do much except requesting him to defer his visit for the time being at least.
The home ministry official said the Manipur government has banned Muivah's visit, apprehending his interference in the May 26 elections to the autonomous district councils (ADC) in the hill areas of the state due to the NSCN-IM's opposition to the poll.
A Naga students group, the All Naga Students Association Manipur (ANSAM), has responded to the Manipur government's decision to disallow Muivah's visit to his village by imposing a crippling economic blockade along the Dimapur-Imphal National Highway 39, cutting off essential supplies to Manipur.
Manipur has been left managing with the meagre supplies that it is getting through Silchar-Jiribam-Imphal National Highway 53, which has sevaral old and dilapidated bridges, unable to bear the full loads of trucks.