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Hurry up on talks, outfit tells Rajnath

Shillong, June 15: The breakaway faction of the A’chik National Volunteers’ Council (ANVC) has appealed to Union home minister Rajnath Singh to speed up the “settlement process” while arguing for the need to bring the Garo National Liberation Army (GNLA) to the negotiating table.

Stating that the group has lost faith in the Mukul Sangma-led government, ANVC (B) chairman Rimpu N. Marak, in a letter to Singh, said even after the outfit had signed a peace pact in January last year, the state government was yet to provide any assistance, including designated camps for the cadres.

Highlighting the killings of his four cadres earlier this year, Marak said such incidents had prompted the remaining cadres to move back to forest, thereby giving rise to splinter groups.

“The state government treated us like animals as it continued to hunt and kill us where and when possible. We once had faith in the Mukul Sangma-led government, but now we have lost all hope for which we ask your (Singh) intervention to bring peace to Garo hills,” Marak stated in the letter.

Before the Lok Sabha polls this year, the Centre had reportedly approved the “agreed text for settlement”, which was arrived at with the A’chik National Volunteers’ Council (ANVC) in January 2013. The ANVC (B) was part of this settlement.

The final agreement between these stakeholders, however, will have to be signed.

Marak urged Singh to speed up the settlement process so that the advantages to be accrued from the settlement would bring benefit to the Garo hills region.

The ANVC (B) chief also argued for the need to bring the GNLA to the negotiating table.

“The GNLA had agreed to come for talks but initiatives from the state government are awaited. GNLA chairman Champion Sangma, who is at present lodged in Shillong jail, has passed a positive message indicating his willingness to join the mainstream,” Marak added.