Nagaland Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio said on Friday that immediately after he returned from New Delhi, he held a Cabinet meeting to discuss the volatile situation arising out of the Manipur government's action to prevent NSCN(I-M) leader T. Muivah from visiting his birthplace.

“The Cabinet unanimously condemned the use of state machinery by the Manipur government to suppress the voice and democratic rights of the people,” Mr. Rio said, referring to the fatalities in Thursday's police action at the Mao checkpoint on the Nagaland-Manipur border.

He claimed that 1,000 villagers fled Mao and were taking shelter in Nagaland.

Senior Nagaland officials, who visited the Mao area, said two Naga students were killed and many sustained bullet injuries when the police opened fire at those waiting to welcome Mr. Muivah.

Three killed in stampede

Reports from Imphal said three persons, including two women, were killed in a stampede when the police burst teargas shells to disperse the gathering.

Earlier, senior NSCN(I-M) functionary Phungthing Shimrang said that since the Prime Minister's Office “requested us to wait for things to settle, we cannot disregard the request.”

Manipur has opposed Mr. Muivah's visit arguing that it would disturb communal amity in the State.

In Manipur, shops and business establishments remained closed on Friday in response to a strike called by the All-Manipur United Clubs' Organisation, opposing Mr. Muivah's visit. Transport between Manipur and neighbouring States were cancelled in view of the strike, which began at 6 p.m. on Thursday.

Six Naga MLAs in Manipur resigned to protest the State government's decision to disallow Mr. Muivah to enter the State.