UNLF supremo Rajkumar Meghen has been flown to Delhi with 36 hours of his release from Guwahati Central Jail.
The rebel leader was accompanied by his lawyer M Gunedhor Singh and his son R K Chinglen (Mei to friends).
Officials made it clear this was not a case of fresh arrest.
Meghen, also known as Sanayaima in the underground, boarded the Indigo Guwahati-Delhi flight 6E 614 along with his lawyer and son with two home ministry officials.
It appears that the Modi government intends to consult Meghen on issues relating to the ongoing negotiations with Naga rebel groups.
The rebel leader has been requested by the home ministry officials not to visit his hometown Imphal, where local residents were planning a reception for him on Nov 11.
“There is much tension in the Imphal Valley. It would be wise to consult with him (Meghen) and discuss all ramifications before he lands in Imphal,” said a top MHA official, but on condition of anonymity, on grounds he was not authorised to brief the media.
When asked whether the Centre plans to make Meghen a stakeholder in the peace talks with the Naga rebel groups, the official said it was “too early to say that.”
“Meghen may be a big leader but we don’t think he can take a decision without consulting his comrades who are still underground and fighting against India. But it may be useful if we can exchange views before he goes back to Imphal,” the official said.
Family sources said Meghen may undergo a detailed medical checkup after long years in jail.
He was released on Nov 9 (Saturday) a day ahead of expiry of his jail sentence from Guwahati Central Jail.
The BJP government in Manipur has long pushed for Meitei rebel groups to join negotiations with Delhi and have a say in the way the intended Naga settlement plays out because of obvious implications it would have on the future of the state.
During his jail tenure, Meghen did not budge from his demand for a plebiscite in Manipur to ascertain public opinion on the state’s merger with India in 1949 — and it remains to be seen whether he climbs down now.