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Talks feelers to Hmar outfit

Silchar, Sept. 28: The Mizo National Front government in Mizoram has started a dialogue with the Hmar and Zomi militants in the Northeast through its intermediaries in the Young Mizo Association.

A source in Aizawl today said a team of the YMA met the top brass of the underground Hmar People’s Convention (Democratic) and Zo Revolutionary Army at Churachandpur in Manipur early this week. Talks were held where the YMA team urged the militants to maintain peace in the time of the Assembly elections due in the end of the November.

The four-member YMA delegation was led by its senior vice-president Lalchhungnunga. They met HPC (D) chairman Lalmingthanga in Churachandpur, a bastion of the Hmar and Zomi tribals, who belong to the Kuki-Chin ethnic group.

Lalchhungnunga said the Hmar and Zomi rebel leaders had shown positive signs to their request.

The Mizoram government had decided to send the NGOs to meet with the rebels after receiving intelligence reports that the militants might try to foment trouble during the elections.

The Mizoram People’s Forum had also sent a three-member delegation early this week to Calcutta to call on the National Socialist Council of Nagalim (Isak-Muivah) leader V.S. Atem urging him to exercise his group’s influence on the HPC (D), so that it did not disturb the elections in November.

The NSCN (I-M) maintains a fraternal relation with the HPC (D) and occasionally helps its activists with arms transfer and even trains their cadres in modern warfare.

The HPC (D) is an off-shoot of the Hmar People’s Convention (HPC), an outfit which had sparked violence in Mizoram and its adjoining areas of Cachar district in Assam and Manipur about two decades ago to press home the demand for an autonomous district council in the Hmar-dominated areas in Mizoram.

The HPC surrendered with all its cadres in 1994 after a few years of rebellion in Mizoram after a series of kidnappings and extortion.

The HPC (D) had pointed out to the Mizoram government through the YMA that it should positively consider their demand for the inclusion of the Hmar community in the Sixth Schedule.

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