Meghalaya CM meets MHA officials over militant outfit’s peace proposal

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Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad K. Sangma on Wednesday held a meeting with Union Home Secretary Ajay Kumar Bhalla in New Delhi and discussed the peace proposal by the banned militant outfit Hynniewtrep National Liberation Council (HNLC).

After the meeting with Bhalla, Sangma said the HNLC has recently written a letter to the Meghalaya government expressing their willingness to talk to the Centre and the state government unconditionally and updated the Ministry of Home Affairs officials in this regard.

“The HNLC’s proposal to initiate talks with the governments under the parameters of the constitution is a welcome step. They are keen to talk to the government in the interest of peace and development,” the Chief Minister said in a video message.

He added that more positive developments are expected to take place in the next few days.

Later, Sangma tweeted, “Following the required process to take forward the peace talks with HNLC and met the MHA Home Secretary to discuss the same.”

The Meghalaya government is committed to take forward the peace talks.

“The Chief Minister’s meeting with the MHA officials was held days after the HNLC offered to hold peace talks with the Centre and the Meghalaya government without any pre-conditions.”

The outlawed militant outfit made the announcement through a press release last week.

The HNLC in its statement had said the organisation has decided to sit with both the governments after getting a lot of requests from senior citizens and various organisations during the past few weeks.

The militant outfit said the peace initiative was disrupted after last year’s killing or the fake encounter’ of the group’s former General Secretary Cherishterfield Thangkhiew.

The HNLC has claimed responsibility for the low-intensity blasts that took place in recent months in the heart of Shillong and other areas in the state. While militancy is on the decline in Meghalaya over the last several years, but since 2020 the HNLC has been behind a few low-intensity IED blasts in the state.

The HNLC, which has been demanding a sovereign Khasi tribal homeland in Meghalaya, is a breakaway faction of the Hynniewtrep Achik Liberation Council, the first tribal militant outfit of the mountainous state, formed in the mid-1980s.

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