Will talk to militants if they give up arms: Meghalaya CM

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Shillong, March 20 (IANS) Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad Sangma on Monday said the government will hold talks only with rebel groups which give up arms.

“We are not saying ‘no’ to peace but there is a process which we need to follow and the government is clear on its stand that we will not negotiate with any rebel group,” he told the Assembly.

“Unless they (militants) shun the path of violence, the government cannot hold talks with them. We are not closing our doors or windows but we cannot allow anyone to come with arms inside the house,” he added.

Sangma was replying to query by Opposition Chief Whip Process T. Sawkmie on whether the government proposed to invite all militant groups in the state for talks.

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“Shun violence and we will give you a rehabilitation package,” Sangma said, adding that militancy was not a problem but the outcome of socio-economic issues.

Sangma said the government had formed a screening committee to decide which cadres were eligible for the rehabilitation package.

He said the three basic criteria for availing the rehabilitation package were: those who surrendered with arms, those cadres who went for training outside the country and cadres who the Special Branch felt should be rehabilitated.

–IANS

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