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Naga leader Muivah's visit not allowed

india Updated: May 02, 2010 17:44 IST

The Manipur government has decided not to allow Naga leader Thuingaleng Muivah's visit to the state fearing ethnic trouble in the northeastern state, police said in Imphal on Sunday.

"In view of the state government's decision, we would not allow him (Muivah) to visit the state," Manipur Director General of Police Y. Joykumar Singh said.

Muivah, the general secretary of the Isak-Muivah faction of National Socialist Council of Nagaland (NSCN-IM), proposed to visit his home place at Somdal village in northern Manipur's Ukhrul district May 3-10. He was scheduled to attend a public reception May 8 at Ukhrul district headquarters.

The 75-year-old Muivah, a Tangkhul Naga from Manipur, was born in interior Somdal village, 100 km north of capital Imphal in Ukhrul district and had last visited his birth place in 1960.

"His (Muivah) visit might escalate further ethnic troubles in the mixed populated areas adjacent to Nagaland," the state police chief said.

The DGP admitted that the union home ministry earlier asked him to arrange security for the NSCN (IM) general secretary's Manipur visit.

The Manipur cabinet chaired by Chief Minister O. Ibobi Singh, however, decided not to allow the NSCN (IM) leader to visit the state's northern areas.

"We have also communicated the government's decision to the prime minister and the union home Minister," Manipur Sports and Youth Affairs Minister and government spokesman N. Biren told reporters Saturday night.

Manipur's seven Naga legislators have in a statement welcomed Muivah's visit to the state.

It was not known so far if in view of the Manipur government's decision Muivah would call off the visit.

The NSCN-IM, one of the oldest and most powerful of the about 30 rebel groups in India's northeast, earlier fought for an independent homeland for the Nagas. The demand was scaled down to a Greater Nagaland, which the NSCN(-M) proposed to be formed by merging Naga populated areas of adjoining states with Nagaland.

The governments of Assam, Manipur and Arunachal Pradesh have rejected the demand for unification of Naga areas. The central government too has rejected the demand.

The NSCN (IM), which is now holding fresh talks with the central government since March, entered into a ceasefire in August 1997.