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Centre in Hmar truce move

Silchar, July 9: After extending the truce with the Dima Halam Daoga (DHD) on July 1, the Centre is now mulling the option of entering a ceasefire with its rival outfit, the Hmar People’s Convention (Democratic). Both groups are active in south Assam and the neighbouring areas of Manipur and Mizoram.

A police official said the Centre has invited HPC (D) president Lalhmingthanga Sanate to New Delhi for talks with Union home ministry officials.

A Hmar source confirmed the report and said a team of HPC (D) militants has already reached Delhi for preliminary talks.

The Centre’s keenness to hold talks with the Hmar guerrillas stems from its desire to usher in peace to south Assam. The area serves as a corridor for militants trying to reach the Indo-Bangladesh border to procure arms.

New Delhi is also eager to pre-empt any move by the Hmar militants to strengthen ties with their latest mentor, the National Socialist Council of Nagalim (Isak-Muivah).

The North Cachar district authorities have intensified their drive against Hmar rebels. Security forces have arrested 63 suspected rebels of the HPC (D) last week.

The move followed a threat issued by the DHD to the HPC (D) to suspend its atrocities on the Dimasas at once.

The HPC (D), fighting for autonomy at the local level in Hmar habitats in Assam, Manipur and Mizoram, comprises only 220 members. This faction is yet to acquire modern arsenals, but authorities fear that it could grow into a formidable force in future.

Security forces have conducted a series of raids on the hideouts of Hmar rebels in North Cachar hills over the past week. These have resulted in the arrest of as many as 63 suspected HPC(D) activists.

Late last month, the army arrested two Hmar youths at Harangajao, suspecting them to be members of the HPC(D). This followed the busting of the main hideout from which the outfit had been orchestrating attacks on the Dimasa community of North Cachar Hills.

Six militants were killed during the army raid on the hideout in adjacent Cachar district. That was the first major offensive by security forces against the outfit since a Cabinet fact-finding team recommended an operation to flush out Hmar militants.

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