NSCN-IM general secretary T. Muivah refused to abandon his visit to his native village in Manipur despite the state government’s decision not to allow him to enter the state.
Muivah is staying the night at Viswema, a village 40 km short of Mao, bordering Manipur and Nagaland, and plans to enter Manipur on Thursday.
Escorted by Nagaland Police, Muivah (75) and some 2,000 people in a convoy of over 150 cars left Camp Hebron around 11.30am for Viswema.
Muivah’s outfit, which demanded that all Naga-dominated areas in the northeast be integrated to create a greater Nagaland, signed a ceasefire deal in July 1997 with the Centre.
Since the deal applies only to Nagaland, NSCN (I-M) leaders and cadres are considered fugitives in Manipur. But Muivah said: “I must go there and no force can stop me. My parents died waiting to meet their son.”
Manipur CM Okram Ibobi Singh, who is sticking to his government’s decision not to allow the visit, is expected to leave for New Delhi on Thursday.
Manipur-based NGOs have also entered the fray, calling a 48-hour general strike from 6pm and imposition of a total blockade of inter-district roads from 5 am on Thursday.
Also, the Kuki Inpi Manipur (KIM), the apex body of Kuki frontal organisations, opposed Muivah’s visit. This has added a new dimension to the Manipur-NSCN (I-M) standoff, as the Kukis are the third largest ethnic group in Manipur.