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Mizo govt bid to revive Hmar talks

Silchar, Dec. 18: The Mizoram government is trying to resume peace talks with the Hmar Peopleís Convention (Democratic), which suffered a setback in 2010.

A senior home department official in Aizawl today said the special branch of Mizoram police had been entrusted by the government with the preliminary task of holding the parleys, which begun in 2008, with some of the underground Hmar leaders to learn about their demands.

The first such meeting was held in Aizawl on December 13.

The meeting came about after the insurgent leaders, now camping in the Tipaimukh area of Manipur, suggested their keenness for revival of the peace talks.

Insurgency watchers in Mizoram are now pinning their hopes on the resumed talks, which suffered a setback in 2010 when the rebels insisted on the presence of an Hmar pastor, Rochunga Pudaite, as one of its delegates.

Sources said Mizoram chief minister Lalthanhawla had raised objections about the presence of Pudaite in the peace talks as a member of the HPC (D) delegation since this clergyman was no longer an Indian national after he had obtained a green card for US citizenship.

Two more efforts in early 2011 by the outfit could not make any headway because of a change in its leadership.

The HPC (D) has been demanding autonomous district council status for the Hmars spread out in Mizoramís northeastern flank, Cachar and Dima Hasao districts in south Assam and Churachandpur and Tipai-mukh subdivisions in Manipur.

But the Mizoram government would grant an autonomous district council for only the Hmars in its state.