Muivah near Manipur border, says won`t stop

In a snub to Manipur government`s ban on his visit, a defiant NSCN-IM leader T Muivah on Wednesday arrived at the state`s frontiers from where he is set to embark on a journey to his birthplace where prohibitory orders have been clamped and security heightened to avoid tribal unrest.

Last Updated: May 06, 2010, 00:36 AM IST

Kohima: In a snub to Manipur government`s
ban on his visit, a defiant NSCN-IM leader T Muivah on Wednesday
arrived at the state`s frontiers from where he is set to
embark on a journey to his birthplace where prohibitory orders
have been clamped and security heightened to avoid tribal
unrest.

75-year-old Muivah reached Viswema village near the
Nagaland-Manipur border on his way to his home village of
Somdal in Ukhrul district in the neighbouring state.
Escorted by members of Naga civil society, Muivah left
the NSCN-IM headquarters Camp Hebron near Dimapur at noon
after a brief prayer and arrived here to a warm welcome at the
check gate on NH-39. He was then escorted to Viswema village,
25 km south of this capital town.

Muivah would stay overnight at Viswema near the Mao
gate on the inter-state border from where he would go to
Somdal tomorrow, said Naga Hoho leaders, who are coordinating
his entourage.

The timing of his departure for Ukhrul was not
disclosed for security reasons.

Nagaland Police have provided Muivah with a bullet
proof vehicle while security forces were deployed on the
national highway, a senior Nagaland Police officer said.

At least 50 vehicles, mostly occupied by members of
Naga NGOs, including women, escorted Muivah to Viswema.

In a hurriedly convened press briefing at the NSCN-IM
headquarters last night, Muivah said he would go ahead with
his planned visit to his village which was agreed upon by the
Centre.
"I must go there and no force can stop me. My parents
died waiting to meet their son," Muivah said.

He said he failed to understand why Manipur was
objecting to his visit, adding "such move is not necessary as
the visit is for peace, to meet family and friends and not to
disturb anyone."

The Manipur government has stepped up security
measures and clamped prohibitory orders on the other side of
the Mao inter-state gate to thwart the entry of the Naga
leader into the state fearing breach of communal harmony.

"The opposition to my visit came as a surprise...the
visit is for peace, to meet family and friends and not to
disturb anyone...We will not claim anything which belongs to
the Meiteis (an ethnic group), let them have theirs, we will
only have what is rightfully ours," he said.

NSCN-IM, one of the oldest and powerful rebel groups
in the northeast, is demanding a `greater Nagaland` which it
proposed to be formed by merging Naga populated areas of
adjoining states, which has been rejected by Assam, Manipur
and Arunachal Pradesh.

PTI