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Muivah issue dominates Congress meeting

May 15, 2010 04:19 IST

Following the week-long standoff between the Nagas and the Manipur government over Thuingaleng Muivah's visit to his native village, the Congress core committee decided not to allow the separatist leader to enter the state. After prolonged deliberations, the party top-brass on Wednesday felt that the visit of the country's top rebel leader from the National Socialist Council of Nagaland-IM might worsen the law and order situation in Manipur.

Although the controversial remarks by Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh was another key agenda that dominated the proceedings of the meeting, top sources in the party told Business Standard that the Muivah issue eventually took the maximum time.

The worried UPA took a stock of the situation in Manipur following the economic blockade by angry Naga organisations for not allowing their leader to enter his native Somdal village in Ukhrul district. The All-Naga Students Association (ANSAM) based in Kohima had called for an indefinite siege that has choked the arterial National Highway 39--the only route that landlocked Manipur depends on for essential supplies from outside the region.

While hundreds of vehicles have queued up outside petrol pumps in Imphal, the Naga leader camping since May 5 at Viswema village, 16 kms from the Nagaland-Manipur border, has refused to budge. Union Home Secretary GK Pillai and the Centre's interlocutor for Naga talks RS Pande rushed to meet Muivah to discuss the situation and persuade him not to forcibly enter the neighbouring state.

Meanwhile, the Manipur government has imposed curfew at Mao--the border town of the two states and deployed central paramilitary forces. Sporadic violence in the state has claimed two lives in police firing.

Saubhadro Chatterji in New Delhi