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GNLA talks closed, says Mukul

Shillong, July 10: The doors are closed for the Garo National Liberation Army (GNLA) for holding peace talks, after Meghalaya chief minister Mukul Sangma today said the Centre has formally indicated to the state government not to pursue the matter.

The GNLA is a terrorist organisation operating in Meghalaya’s Garo hills. Sangma told reporters here that the militant outfit was earlier given an opportunity to hold talks but they have missed it since they are continuing to indulge in criminal activities.

“The Centre has formally indicated to us that we should not continue to pursue to hold talks with the GNLA since they are continuing with their criminal activities,” Sangma said.

Earlier, the GNLA had expressed its desire to have a dialogue with the governments and demanded that its “chairman,” Champion R. Sangma, who is currently lodged in a Shillong jail, be released.

Sangma appealed to the GNLA to give up its armed struggle, stop violent activities and create a favourable environment for talks.

“It is necessary for them (GNLA) now to look for a positive signal from the state government which will allow them to surrender and come overground in the larger interest of the people and to restore peace and normalcy in Garo hills,” the chief minister said.

ILP issue

The Meghalaya government has decided to constitute two committees. One would chalk out modalities for designing “attractive” checkpoints for people entering the state, as part of measures to address problems of influx and illegal immigration.

Chief minister Mukul Sangma, who chaired a high-level meeting on influx issue, told reporters today that one committee headed by a director of anti-infiltration directorate would carry out exercises to identify locations for setting up of entry and exit points and should complete the exercises within two months.

Asked if the proposed setting up of checkpoints was in line with the demand of the 13 pressure groups to implement “modified” inner-line permit, Sangma said the ILP question does not arise.

According to Sangma, the model is being designed in a way to ensure minimum inconvenience to those who have to pass through the entry and exit points, adding that such points should be attractive for people to stop without facing inconvenience and any kind of harassment.

Sangma also said another committee, headed by deputy chief minister (law), Rowell Lyngdoh, had been constituted to work on few required amendment to the existing Prohibition of Benami Transaction Act, 1980 and to further examine the proposed tenancy bill proposed by the government for regulating landlords and tenants.


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