An all-party delegation of Manipur will shortly leave for New Delhi, to press yet again with Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde the demand for handing over an NSCN(IM) cadre to face trial ail in a molestation case.
The decision was taken at a meeting of 16 political parties here on Tuesday, Chief Minister Okram Ibobi Singh told journalists. The meeting was convened in the wake of the growing ferment in the State. When Mr. Singh called on him last Saturday, Mr. Shinde did not make any commitment on the demand but merely advised the Chief Minister to discuss the matter with R.S. Pandey, interlocutor of the ceasefire monitoring cell. Peace talks are going on between the National Socialist Council of Nagaland (Isak-Muivah) and the government of India. Sources pointed out that what Mr. Shinde said was as good as a negative response for, this issue could not be handled by the interlocutor.It is said the wanted man, ‘Lt.Col.’ R.P. Livingstone, is hiding in a peace camp in the State. But, according to the terms of the ceasefire between the NSCN(IM) and the government of India, the State government cannot go there and effect the arrest.
Significantly, at Tuesday’s meeting, representatives of the Naga People’s Front, said to be supported by Naga bodies in Manipur and Nagaland, also said Livingstone should face trial for allegedly beating up and molesting a film actress at a musical in Chandel district on October 18.
The all-party meeting also appealed to the United Naga Council not to impose a blockade, to counter the ongoing general strike to press for the arrest of Livingstone. The Film Forum Manipur, the Manipur State Sumang Lila Council and other organisations should call off the general strike, the meeting urged. Meanwhile, the organisations have decided to call off the general strike from 6 pm on Thursday. Mr. Ibobi Singh and Deputy Chief Minister G. Gaikhangam have welcomed it.
K.T. Rahman, president of the All Manipur United Clubs Organisation said on Wednesday that the decision to call off the strike was taken after a long deliberation, taking into consideration the hardships of the people caused by the indefinite general strike.
A 28-year-old youth in Imphal East district, has threatened to commit self-immolation if the Manipur government failed to arrest “Lt Col” R.P. Livingstone. The youth, John Thangjam, came to the press club on Tuesday night and spoke to journalists.