114 terrorists give up arms in Mizoram in ‘homecoming’ ceremony

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Aizawl, April 13 (IANS) Two weeks after a peace accord, 114 terrorists of Hmar People’s Convention-Democratic (HPC-D) on Friday surrendered to the Mizoram government and deposited huge cache of arms and ammunition.

At the surrender ceremony, Chief Minister Lal Thanhawla said that after a talks, the state government has reached a successful settlement with the HPC-D and the “surrendered extremists now can live a normal life with peaceful co-existence with their families and friends”.

“The state government would ensure successful implementation of all provisions stipulated in the bipartite accord in a phase manner,” he added.

“While Mizoram is enjoying peace for last 30 years, Hmar brothers have been living in fear.Now the time of fear psychosis is over, it is now time to work for development by re-unification,” Home Minister R. Lalzirliana said at the “Homecoming Ceremony”.

He however said that the government would show no mercy to those who take up arms to disturb peace in Mizoram.

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The ceremony was held at Central Training Institute in Mizoram Home Guard headquarters at Sesawng village, 39 km northeast of Aizawl.

The weapons surrendered included 44 sophisticated firearms, including nine AK series rifles and two carbines, as well as nearly 3,000 rounds of ammunition and five radio sets.

The Mizoram government signed a peace agreement with the Manipur-based terror outfit here on April 2 to end the three-decade-old violent struggle. After eight years of parleys, the Memorandum of Settlement was signed by Chief Secretary Arvind Ray and HPC-D President H. Zosangbera.

It entails that more administrative autonomy would be given to the existing Sinlung Hills Development Council, which would be renamed the Sinlung Hills Council, said Additional Secretary, Home Lalbiakzama, who led the government team in the talks with the HC-D since 2010.

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Under the peace agreement, the state government would declare amnesty for all HPC-D cadres against whom criminal cases are pending.

Top HPC-D leader Lalbieklien was released from the jail on Wednesday. He had been arrested by the Assam Rifles in Manipur for leading the group that ambushed a Mizoram assembly team on March 28, 2015, killing three policemen and injuring six.

Lalbiakzama said that under the agreement, the state government would take steps to provide ex-gratia to the around 100 HPC-D cadres after they surrender and help to rehabilitate them.

HPC-D spokesperson Lalthalien said the signing of the peace accord was a historic milestone not only for the Hmar tribe but also for the Mizos at large.

The outfit had been indulging in intermittent violent activities in Mizoram since 1989 demanding a separate autonomous district council, under the Constitution’s Sixth Schedule, carved out of southern Manipur, northern Mizoram and southern Assam.

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The Mizoram government had on a number of occasions rejected the demand.

Mizoram Governor Lt. Gen. Nirbhay Sharma (retd) hailed the accord as a “milestone in bringing peace in the state”.

“After the historic peace accord of 1986 (when Mizo National Front’s founder-leader Laldenga led his group into the mainstream), Mizoram has taken the lead yet again in displaying that peace is attainable even in politically vexed and mired situations.

“We have continued to showcase that we are one of the most peaceful states, if not the most peaceful, in India. The political will of the Government, the trust shown by the HPC-D, and the role played by the civil society all deserve applause,” he added.

–IANS

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