The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Mizo CM’s new peace mission

New Delhi, Aug. 7: After earning the confidence of the NSCN (Isak-Muivah), Mizoram chief minister Zoramthanga has cajoled three more militant groups of the Northeast into agreeing to informally discuss their demands with him later this month.

Zoramthanga, who has come to be known as the region’s resident peacemaker, refused to name any of the three outfits till the preliminary talks were over.

“As many as six groups operating in Manipur, Tripura and Meghalaya have indicated their desire to negotiate with the Centre. So the three groups that are likely to meet me could be any one of these,” he said.

On whether he had drawn up an agenda for the proposed talks and selected a venue, the insurgent leader-turned-politician said: “This is the pulse-feeling phase and one has to be very careful to ensure that nothing goes wrong. Aizawl is likely to be the venue of the discussions, though last-minute changes cannot be ruled out.”

The Achik National Volunteers’ Council (ANVC), active mainly in the Garo hills of Meghalaya, is believed to be one of the militant groups that have agreed to meet Zoramthanga.

Former Meghalaya minister Adolf Lu Hitler Marak, who was arrested recently on charges of hobnobbing with the ANVC, told interrogators that the Mizoram chief minister had asked him to establish contact the militant group’s leadership. Sources said Zoramthanga visited Bangkok in March for the same reason.

The Mizo leader said here that his impending meetings with the leaders of three militant outfits — two are probably from Manipur — could pave the way for a dialogue between them and the Centre.

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