Muivah is a terrorist, says rival Naga group

A frontline Naga separatist group Wednesday accused rival militant leader Thuingaleng Muivah of being a terrorist who was trying to stoke communal clashes by pledging to visit his birthplace in Manipur.

Last Updated: May 19, 2010, 15:54 PM IST

Dimapur (Nagaland): A frontline Naga separatist group Wednesday accused rival militant leader Thuingaleng Muivah of being a terrorist who was trying to stoke communal clashes by pledging to visit his birthplace in Manipur.

"Muivah is a terrorist and his terror designs were reflected when he used hundreds of innocent Naga civilians as a human shield to try to enter Manipur and visit his birthplace. Muivah has no business to curb the human rights of the people of Manipur," Kughalo Mulatonu, a senior leader of the SS Khaplang faction of the National Socialist Council of Nagaland (NSCN-K), said.

The decision by Muivah, leader of the rival NSCN faction, to visit his ancestral village in Manipur`s Ukhrul district led to bloody clashes, with three Naga protesters killed in firing by Manipur police May 6.

The Manipur government has banned Muivah`s visit saying it would incite communal tension in the state.

The deadlock over Muivah`s visit has led to several Naga groups enforcing an indefinite economic blockade with hundreds of trucks carrying essentials stranded in adjoining Nagaland. Protesters have laid a siege on National Highway 39 - the main lifeline to Manipur.

This has triggered an acute food crisis in Manipur with the state forced to airlift supplies of essentials and medicines - such was the situation that even hospitals were compelled to stop routine surgeries due to dearth of oxygen cylinders.

Landlocked Manipur depends on supplies from outside the region, with trucks from the rest of India carrying essentials passing through Nagaland.

"We warn Naga civil society groups not to hold Manipur to ransom by blocking trucks from entering Manipur via Nagaland. You cannot do that as it violates all basic norms of human rights," Mulatonu said.

The rival NSCN factions are fighting a bitter turf war for territorial supremacy in Nagaland since they split in 1988. The internecine war has claimed more than 500 lives in the past five years.

"We want that the Meteis of Manipur and the Nagas cohabit without any animosity," Mulatonu said.

IANS