Separatist HNLC offers talks with Meghalaya, Centre

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Shillong, Dec 1 (IANS) Meghalaya’s outlawed Hynniewtrep National Liberation Council (HNLC) on Sunday said that it is ready for peace talks even within the ambit of the Constitution of India to regain the respect and recognition as a “Nation”.

“We are ready for peace talks within the ambit of the Constitution of India or even outside the Constitution as per requirements,” HNLC General Secretary Sainkupar Nongtraw said.

He said the rebel outfit has been expressing its willingness to shun the path of violence and join the mainstream from 2004.

The HNLC, which runs hit-and-run operations from its hideout in Bangladesh, has been demanding a sovereign Hynniewtrep homeland in Meghalaya.

Meghalaya shares a 443 km long border with Bangadesh part of which is porous, hilly and unfenced and prone to frequent infiltrations.

Nongtraw said it was high time for the Centre, Meghalaya government and the HNLC to lay aside the prejudices and biases and find a common ground for peace to flourish.

“At this point, we express our faith in the government and we do believe that we could strengthen our relation after getting positive response from the Centre and Meghalaya government,” the separatist leader maintained.

He also said that the outfit is hopeful of getting a positive response from the Centre and the state government on the offer of peace.

“Our central command believes that simply surrendering will be a big blow to the principles and objectives that we had firmly stood upon. We are now looking forward to give up our arms struggle and concentrate on political dialogue,” he said.

Nongtraw said it now depends on the Centre and the Meghalaya government to take the offer for peace talks seriously and implement it with their honest efforts.

“And if it doesn’t materialise, we don’t mind continuing our struggle because we neither lack manpower or money power, nor firepower,” Nongtraw said.

On the fresh orders issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs on November 18 banning the HNLC under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, Nongtraw said, “This attitude of the government has sent a negative response to us and our council.”

He added that the “attitude” has made them believe that peace talks are a far cry, and hence bloodshed should carry on.

Nongtraw said HNLC’s objective of achieving peace is about resolving the conflict without violence.

–IANS

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