A BJP delegation on Friday met Union Home Minister P. Chidambaram to convey the assessment of the volatile situation in Manipur made by a three-member party team.

The party demanded that the permission given to NSCN (Isak-Muivah) leader Thuingaleng Muivah to visit his home village in Manipur be withdrawn and urgent measures taken to lift the month-old blockade of National Highway 39 which, it said crippled essential supplies in the State.

A “unilateral decision by the Home Minister” of granting permission to Mr. Muivah resulted in tension and violence in the State, in which some people have died, the party said.

Party spokesperson Prakash Javadekar, who led the three-member delegation to Manipur (the other members were Tarun Vijay and Bijoya Chakravarty), said supplies of petrol and diesel, cereals and even life-saving drugs were very limited. Some schools and colleges in Imphal had to be closed because of petrol and diesel shortage. A strike by government employees had worsened the situation.

Mr. Javadekar demanded that the Centre immediately assure Manipur that its territorial boundaries would not be changed as a result of the dialogue with the NSCN (I-M). At the same time, he did not disagree when it was pointed out the NDA government had put the issue of a greater Nagaland, comprising Nagaland and some Naga-dominated areas in Manipur, on the table for discussion. Talks with Mr. Muivah began in Bangkok when Atal Bihari Vajpayee was the Prime Minister, he confirmed.

The BJP suggested that the Centre try and open up an alternative highway route to Manipur on an urgent basis to augment the essential supplies in the State, which could run out within a week.

Mao Gate normal

Iboyaima Laithangbam reports from Imphal:

The tribals in Ukhrul district, where Mr. Muivah's ancestral village is located, has made preparations to give him a rousing welcome, though nothing is certain about his visit.

Normality has returned to the Mao Gate, the scene of mob violence on May 6, when two tribal students were shot dead.

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