The Manipur government decided on Saturday to block the visit of the NSCN (IM) general secretary, Thuingaleng Muivah, to his birthplace in Ukhrul district, as it “may disturb the peace and tranquility” in the state.
Government spokesperson and sports minister N. Biren told newspersons here that Union Home Minister P. Chidambaram had already been told about the cabinet decision.
The Union home ministry had reportedly directed Manipur Police chief Yumnam Joykumar to arrange security for militant leader Muivah’s visit to the Naga-dominated Ukhrul district from May 3 to 10.
NSCN (IM)’s has been demanding that the Naga-inhabited areas in Assam, Arunachal Pradesh and Manipur be integrated into a greater Nagaland despite the respective state governments’ opposition.
Asserting that the ceasefire pact signed between the Centre and the NSCN-IM in August 1997 was limited only to Nagaland and should not be extended to Manipur, Biren said the state government did not want a repeat of the uprising of 2001.
On June 18, 2001, security forces opened fire on people protesting against the extension of ceasefire to Manipur, killing 18 people.
Muivah wants to visit his native Somdal village, about 100 km north of Imphal, besides attending a public reception on May 8 at Ukhrul district headquarters, 84 km from here.
Although seven Naga independent MLAs welcomed the visit, the United Committee Manipur (UCM), an umbrella organisation for protecting Manipur’s territorial integrity, said they would oppose any move to break up the state.
“We are examining whether there is any hidden agenda,” Yumnamcha Dilipkumar, president of UCM said.