Shillong, Jan. 1: Meghalaya chief minister Mukul Sangma today announced that a “historic settlement” is on the anvil for resolving the issues raised by the A’chik National Volunteers Council (ANVC).
“The negotiations with ANVC for arriving at a permanent settlement have reached the final stage. I have been informed by the Union ministry of home affairs that a tripartite meeting is being convened on January 5 in Shillong,” Mukul Sangma said in an appeal today and called the breakaway faction of the ANVC to join in the meeting.
Welcoming the Centre’s initiative, he said Garo hills has suffered enough on account of militancy, which has caused immense hardship to the peace-loving people of the region.
“They now look forward to reverting to a period of peace, harmony, growth and development. Let us all work together to grant them this as a New Year gift,” the chief minister said.
He said Centre and the state government have always been considerate towards the genuine demands and aspirations of the people.
“The issues raised by the ANVC too have always received the highest consideration of the governments. Let us approach the forthcoming tripartite meeting with an open and constructive frame of mind, keeping the interests of the people of the region as the upper most consideration,” the chief minister said.
He said guided by this framework, it should be possible to find a settlement that would be mutually acceptable to all the stakeholders.
“I keenly look forward to a positive outcome from this engagement. May I also avail of this opportunity to make an appeal to the breakaway faction, ANVC (B), to also come forward and join the meeting?” he asked.
“If they have the welfare of the people of Garo hills as their uppermost priority, then they should take advantage of this occasion and contribute to arriving at a settlement that would usher in an era of peace and development,” he said. “I trust that the leadership of this faction would respond to my earnest appeal and join hands with us in concluding a historic settlement.”
A tripartite ceasefire agreement was entered between the Centre, state government and the ANVC in July 2004 and the agreement was extended by another year with effect from October 1, 2012.
Several rounds of talks between the militant group and the Centre’s interlocutor P.C. Haldar have been held.
The ANVC has been demanding the creation of the Garo Hills Autonomous Territorial Council on the lines of the Bodoland Territorial Council (BTC).
Earlier, the group had demanded a separate state of “Greater Garoland”.