The Centre's attempt to resolve the conflict between Okram Ibobi Singh's Manipur government and the National Socialist Council of Nagaland (Isak-Muivah) has come a cropper with both sides sticking to their guns.
The latest crisis evolved from NSCN-IM general secretary Thuingaleng Muivah's desire to visit ancestral village Somdal (in Manipur's Ukhrul district) after 40 years.
The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) sanctioned the visit, but Manipur CM Ibobi Singh stonewalled it saying Muivah was a fugitive as the ceasefire with NSCN-IM (since July 1997) was not applicable in Manipur.
In a bid to resolve the conflict, New Delhi had on Tuesday rushed Home Secretary GK Pillai to Manipur and Nagaland. He held separate meetings with Singh and the NSCN-IM leadership, but failed to break the ice.
Pillai met Ibobi and other senior Manipur officials on Tuesday and discussed the crisis for about three hours. But the Manipur government made it clear that it could not allow Muivah to enter the state unless the Naga militants dropped the demand of creation of "Greater Nagalim".
Greater Nagalim is the NSCN-IM's concept of a unified Naga homeland comprising Naga-inhabited areas of Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur and Myanmar besides Nagaland. Manipur stands to lose four hill districts if Greater Nagalim becomes a reality.
"We have communicated to Pillai that we cannot allow Muivah to enter the State unless the NSCN-IM drops the Greater Nagalim demand," Manipur minister and government spokesman N Biren said.
On Wednesday, Pillai met Muivah and other NSCN-IM leaders at Viswema in Nagaland and discussed the prevailing situation arising out of the conflict. But the insurgents asserted that Muivah would go ahead with his visit to his native village.
"Yes, we had a meeting with Pillai but there was no breakthrough," senior NSCN-IM leader VS Atem said. "The Government of India seems to be unable to take its stand. They will say something here and something else there. We're very much disappointed."
The Centre had earlier advised Muivah to air-dash to his native village but he declined insisting that he will travel by road. Protests from Manipur sealing of the inter-state border forced a change in his itinerary besides claiming three lives in resultant violence in Naga-inhabited areas of Manipur.