NSF would extend "all logical support" to All Naga Students' Association (ANSAM) and United Naga Council (UNC) in the stir, it said in a release.

Hours after the Centre decided to send security forces to remove the 65-day-old blockade of the two national highways causing severe shortage of essential commodities in Manipur, the Naga groups announced temporary suspension of their stir from Tuesday.

The Naga Student Federation has decided to temporarily suspend the blockade of NH-39 and NH-53 responding to appeals by various individuals and groups, a release issued by NSF vice president Sinhilo Thong and general secretary Wati Jamir said today.

However, the NSF would resume its agitation if the Manipur government failed to fulfill its demands in toto, the release said.

NSF would extend "all logical support" to All Naga Students' Association (ANSAM) and United Naga Council (UNC) in the stir, it said.

The two organisations had launched the blockade on NH-39 (Imphal-Dimapur) and NH-53 (Imphal-Jiribam) since April 12 protesting elections to Autonomous District Councils (ADCs) in Manipur hills and Manipur government's decision to ban entry of NSCN leader T. Muivah to the state.

The Naga outfits alleged that enough monetary power was not given to the councils to carry out development works.

The economic blockade has pushed Manipur in the verge of a breakdown with stocks of all essentials commodities, including baby food and life saving drugs, almost drying up.

Earlier in the day, Union Home Secretary G K Pillai said the Centre had decided to send more security forces to remove the blockade.

Earlier report by our correspondent Vinay Kumar:

Centre to send forces to break Manipur blockade

Even as the Union government decided to send forces to break the blockade in Manipur imposed by Naga student groups, Naga agitators met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Monday, giving indications that they may temporarily suspend the stir.

The two-month-old blockade by Naga student groups has caused hardship and misery to the State people owing to acute shortage of essential items, medicines, food and fuel.

The Home Ministry decided to send 16 companies of paramilitary forces, including one company of women personnel, to assist the Manipur government to clear two crucial highways that were blocked from April 11.

The Ministry is also sending six companies of central forces to Nagaland. “We have decided to send central forces to remove the blockade all through the national highway from Manipur to Assam,” Home Secretary G.K. Pillai said.

After the meeting with Dr. Singh, Naga Students Federation (NSF) adviser Achumbemo Kikon told journalists,

“We had a very good meeting with the Prime Minister and submitted a memorandum to him. He gave us a patient hearing and assured us of an early solution to the ongoing problem. He asked us to create a peaceful atmosphere for talks and resolve the issue.”

The All Naga Students' Association of Manipur and the United Naga Council (UNC) had appealed to the Manipur government to amend the Manipur (Hill Areas) District Councils Act, 1971, as it challenged the existence of Nagas as well as other tribals living in Manipur. However, the NSF and the UNC alleged that the State government forcibly imposed the Autonomous District Council elections against people's will.

The blockade of NH 39 (Imphal-Dimapur) and NH 53 (Imphal-Silchar), passing through Nagaland and connecting Manipur, was further intensified after Manipur denied entry to NSCN (I-M) general secretary T Muivah on May 3 to visit his ancestral home.

The Naga leaders also met Union Home Minister P. Chidambaram and Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj.