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HNLC stand scrutinised

Shillong, Aug. 18: The Meghalaya government is examining the statement made by the proscribed Hynniewtrep National Liberation Council (HNLC), which wanted a bilateral ceasefire before possible peace talks could commence.

Following the offer to rehabilitate “misguided youths” by Meghalaya chief minister Mukul Sangma, the outfit had yesterday indicated that it was ready to take the offer provided a bilateral ceasefire was first put in place.

Before making any official statement on the issue, sources said the government was studying the veracity of the statement from the proscribed outfit as it appeared in the media today.

A reply from the government to the outfit’s publicised stand on the rehabilitation offer and possible peace parleys could come soon, sources added.

In a statement yesterday, HNLC publicity secretary Sainkupar Nongtraw, said, “If the Meghalaya government is really serious about offering a rehabilitation package to the HNLC, then it should chalk up strategies to come under a bilateral ceasefire. Peace process can only start with the advent of a bilateral ceasefire.”

During his Independence Day speech at Polo Ground on Friday, Sangma had appealed to the “misguided youths who are waging a war against the nation and our own people” to realise the futility of violence.

Sangma had also urged the youths to take advantage of the government’s offer to come overground and avail of the rehabilitation package that includes counselling, guidance and sustainable livelihood.

All-party meet: A meeting of all the 24 legislators representing the Garo hills region would soon be convened by the state government following the deteriorating law and order scenario.

Chief minister Mukul Sangma today said the meeting of the legislators would be followed by a meeting of all the political parties in the state to have a threadbare discussion on the issue.

Sangma said the government would need suggestions from all concerned to address the Garo hills situation.