Meghalaya CM Holds Discussion With Union Home Secretary Over HNLC Peace Talks

This development comes days after the outlawed militant group offered to sit down for peace talks with the Central and the Meghalaya state governments without any pre-conditions.
Meghalaya CM Holds Discussion With Union Home Secretary Over HNLC Peace Talks

Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad Sangma on Wednesday met with Union Home Secretary Ajay Kumar Bhalla and held a discussion over the issue of peace talks with the banned militant outfit Hynniewtrep National Liberation Council (HNLC).

"Following the required process to take forward the peace talks with HNLC, met the Home Secretary of the Ministry of Home Affairs to discuss the same. The Government of Meghalaya is committed to see this through," Sangma tweeted after the meeting.

This development comes days after the outlawed militant group offered to sit down for peace talks with the Central and the Meghalaya state governments without any pre-conditions.

On February 8, in a statement issued by HNLC general secretary-cum-publicity secretary Sainkupar Nongtraw said that the organization has decided to initiate peace talks after receiving a lot of requests from elders and social organizations over the past few days.

"After consultations with some elders recently, we have decided to come to a peaceful agreement with the GOM (Government of Meghalaya) and the GOI (Government of India)," the militant group had said, adding, "As of now we are ready to talk within the ambit of the Indian constitution and we are ready to have talks without any pre-conditions,” the outfit said in a statement.

It however did not mention whether they would consider relinquishing arms and armed attacks.

It said the peace process was derailed after last year's killing or the 'fake encounter' of the militant's former GS (L) Cherishterfield Thangkhiew.

Nongtraw said that Thangkhiew's death brought sadness to the whole Hynniewtrep region, adding, "Che was also in favor of the peace talks and he was assigned the task to carry forward their message to the Government of India."

Previously, the militant outfit had been resolute on its demand for any negotiations to include the subjects of the Standstill Agreement and Instrument of Accession and Annexation, which brought the erstwhile Khasi states into the Indian Union following independence in 1947.

It further called on the government to appoint an official interlocutor to show its seriousness to the cause of peace.

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