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PC 'surprised' over BJP's demand on Muivah

By The Assam Tribune

NEW DELHI, May 15 (IANS) - Home Minister P Chidambaram today expressed surprise over the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) demand to cancel the permission granted to rebel Naga leader Th Muivah to visit his ancestral village in Manipur, saying no such permission had been given.

Expressing "surprise and disappointment" at the BJP's demand, made Friday, Chidambaram said that the Central Government consulted Manipur Chief Minister O Ibobi Singh on the proposed visit of National Socialist Council of Nagaland-Isak-Muivah general secrertary Muivah to his native village Somdal in the State's Ukhrul district.

"The Government of Manipur took the stand that such a visit would not be appropriate at this time," an official statement quoted Chidambaram as saying.

"Efforts were made over several days to find a solution. The Chief Minister of Manipur was requested to come to Delhi and he did so on May 6, 2010. The Finance Minister, the Defence Minister and I held talks with the Manipur Chief Minister, who, however, after his return to Imphal, reiterated the stand that Muivah's visit to Somdal could not be allowed at this stage," Chidambaram said.

Seeking "to set the record straight", Chidambaram said the BJP's Rajya Sabha member Prakash Javadekar had led a delegation to meet him Friday in connection with the situation in Manipur.

"After hearing the delegation, I explained in detail the developments in the past week. The delegation thanked me for the patient hearing and for the briefing on the developments in Manipur and urged me and the union government to continue to deal with the situation with tact and understanding," the home minister said.

"The delegation expressed satisfaction at the conclusion of the meeting," Chidambaram said, adding: "I am, therefore, surprised and disappointed by Javadekar's statement".

In a statement Friday after meeting the Home Minister, Javadekar had demanded "immediate withdrawal of permission granted" to Muivah to visit Manipur.

The statement had also asked the Central and the State governments to take immediate steps to clear National Highway-39 of the blockade enforced by some Naga groups to protest the Manipur government's refusal to allow Muivah's visit. The agitation has led to a shortage of kerosene, petrol, diesel and life-saving drugs in Manipur.

Referring to this, Chidambaram said: "The immediate problem is to ensure that the national highways are open and supplies of goods reach every district of Manipur. The Union Government is addressing this problem in coordination with the State governments concerned. At this stage, all sections of the people, especially the political parties, should support the government in its efforts."

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