NEW DELHI: Nagaland Chief Minister T.R.Zeliang’s call for unity at a function was jolted when an IED exploded at Litan, 42km from the venue along the Imphal-Ukhrul road.

Zeliang, inaugurating the two-day seed-sowing festival of the Nagas in Manipur, urged them to work for "emotional and cultural" integration.

Speaking to The Citizen, Editor of The Nagaland Post Aachuba Yaden admitted , “ There are differences. There are different thought process about issues. The tribal communities need to think in an uniform direction and that can be achieved through emotional and cultural bonding”.

Zeliang, who was invited as the chief guest on the opening day of Lui-Ngai-Ni, came with a strong team to show "solidarity" with the Nagas in Manipur and Naga organisations, which are harping on Naga integration.

Nagaland home minister Yanthungo Paton and minister in-charge of road and bridges Y. Vikheho Swu came along with Zeliang by chopper to attend the programme at Tangkhul Naga Long ground in Ukhrul.

The guest of honour, inspector-general of Assam Rifles (South), Maj. Gen. V.S. Sreenivas, was to travel back to Imphal on this route after the programme. No one was injured.

"The bomb was planted by the roadside and was powerful. However, no one was injured because there was no traffic on the route," an Assam Rifles officer said.

Police could not identify those behind the blast. Those who spoke at the festival did not mention the incident.

The theme of this year's festival is "Sowing in tears, reaping in joy".

Zeliang welcomed the signing of the framework agreement between the NSCN (I-M) and the Narendra Modi government and expressed hope that a solution would be found soon. Stating that Nagas are divided by artificial boundaries, he said, "Historical forces can redraw state boundaries. Only we have to be patient."

He proposed a common festival for the Nagas living in Nagaland, Manipur, Assam and Arunachal Pradesh.

“It is important to ensure integration of the Naga community. The unity can contribute positively and help to secure a better future. The political leaders can help to achieve it because the line of thinking needs a change. People need to change their thought process” Yadan added.

He appreciated the four NPF legislators in Manipur for resigning in protest against passing of the Protection of Manipur People Bill, the Manipur Land Revenue and Land Reforms (Seventh Amendment) Bill and the Manipur Shops and Establishment (Second Amendment) Bill last year. He termed the bills anti-tribal.

Gaidon Kamei, president of United Naga Council, urged Nagas to support the peace talks so that it could come to a "fruitful and logical end".

Cultural programmes will be the main attraction of the festival. Mizoram chief minister Lal Thanhawla will be the chief guest tomorrow.

Lui-Ngai-Ni is on February 15 every year .The Manipur government declared February 15 as a state holiday.