Aizawl, Aug. 14: The talks between the Mizoram government and the militant Hmar Peoples Convention (Democratic) fell through today, bringing the six-month-long suspension of operations with the group to an end.
The government upgraded security in the state after the talks failed.
“Since we could not agree on anything, it means that the suspension of operations with the HPC (D) is not likely to be extended,” Lalbiakzama, joint secretary in the home department, told The Telegraph after the talks ended this evening.
The agreement, whereby the state government agreed to suspend operations against the HPC (D) for six months, came to an end on July 31.
Lalbiakzama said there were several issues but they failed to come to an agreement on any one, leaving little room for further negotiations. However, the ultimate decision will be made by the higher authorities, he added.
Today’s parleys were scheduled to give the two parties one more chance to reach a resolution after the July 18 meeting impasse.
The HPC (D) wants recognition for the Hmar community as a “tribe with autonomy” in the three states of Assam, Manipur and Mizoram. It wants the areas in northeastern Mizoram, bordering Manipur, to be notified as an autonomous council under the Sixth Schedule.
The HPC (D) had walked out of the memorandum of settlement signed between the state government and the HPC on July 27, 1994, alleging that some of its major clauses remained unimplemented. The HPC (D) said the Sinlung Hills Development Council, which was created under the MoU, had become nothing but a political instrument.
Since then the HPC (D) has been waging an armed struggle for creation of an Hmar autonomous council in Mizoram.
Many people have died in the struggle since 1994, including fratricidal killings among splinter groups.
The campaign is going on at a slower pace in Manipur and Assam.
Observers said the HPC (D)’s struggle is more a case of political expression of a marginalised population rather than based on real ethnic differences as Hmars are part and parcel of the Mizo or Zo group of tribes with slight variations.
The Mizoram government delegation was led by local area development secretary B. Lalhmingthanga. The other delegates, besides Lalbiakzama, were superintendent of police, CID (special branch), Ramthlengliana, additional deputy commissioner of Aizawl district, Lalchungnunga, deputy secretary (home), Lalhriatpuia, OSD (home), David H. Lalthangliana and inspector (interpretor) Laltanpuia Sailo.
The HPC (D) delegation comprised its working chairman L.T. Hmar, as well as members Lalchhanhima, Lalthalien, Joseph R. Hmar, Lalmuanpuia Punte, Rohringa and Lalremruata Varte.