Shillong, Aug. 31: The proscribed Hynniewtrep National Liberation Council (HNLC) today said if the government was serious, it should appoint the “interlocutor” for possible peace talks within 24 days.
The outfit was responding to the Meghalaya government’s statement that measures for appointment of an “interlocutor” would be taken.
“The HNLC has put a step forward to initiate peace talks with the government. Hence, the appointment of an interlocutor is the first and foremost requirement. If the Meghalaya government seriously wants to take the peace talks to the first level, then it should try to appoint an interlocutor within 24 days of this press communiqué,” HNLC “publicity secretary” Sainkupar Nongtraw said in a statement.
Nongtraw said the outfit would strive to achieve its objectives through the process of dialogue and achieving a peaceful settlement. He said the “positive” step taken by the government has been appreciated by the HNLC leadership, but said it would not like to “repeat history” as in 2004, when efforts to reach the negotiating table proved futile.
Two days ago, the government appreciated the “positive response” of the HNLC to the call to come overground and avail of the rehabilitation package.
“The government is now initiating the process for carrying forward this opportunity to its logical conclusion and measures for appointment of an interlocutor for the purpose will now be taken,” the government had said.
However, the government wanted the HNLC to refrain from any action contrary to the law and desist from further recruitment in order to create an environment conducive to carry forward the objective of achieving peace and progress.
On the National Green Tribunal (NGT) ban on coal mining, Nongtraw said chief minister Mukul Sangma has “shown responsibility” by intervening into the matter, which has brought some hope to people.
“Logically speaking, the NGT should also close down all the cement plants and industries that are dependent on coal. If our poor people are suffering, then the industrialists should meet the same fate,” he said.
The breakaway faction of the A’chik National Volunteers’ Council (ANVC) today said the time has come for people to put their faith in the Centre for peace in Garo hills.
“The state government has made life hell for the people. All militants have refrained from violence and killing yet something or the other keeps cropping up. These acts are not the work of militants but of local goons who do not love our birthplace,” ANVC (B) “political secretary” Doang D. Shira said in a statement.
Stating that militants were “uniting for peace” in Garo hills in spite of their differences, Shira appealed to political leaders, church leaders, NGOs and civil society groups to unite and stand up against the evil governance and fight against corrupt conspiracies against the people.
He said it appears that Garo hills will have peace only when the Centre “intervenes”.