The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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DHD peace talks put off

Silchar, Dec. 13: The first round of formal peace talks between the Centre and the Dima Halam Daoga has been postponed to December 23. It was earlier scheduled for next Friday.

Vice-chairman of the outfit belonging to the North Cachar Hills, Dilip Nunisa, last night said over telephone from his headquarters that the proposed meeting had to be rescheduled in view of the ongoing winter session of the Lok Sabha.

He said during the first-ever peace parleys on “substantive issues”, the agenda would include, among others, a demand for carving out a Dimasa state. This envisages the amalgamation of Dimasa-inhabited contiguous areas in Nagaland and the districts of Karbi Anglong, Nagaon and Cachar with North Cachar Hills.

The DHD would also insist on the extension of the ceasefire period for another three months from next July.

The DHD leader dubbed media reports that claimed the Dimasa outfit had purchased arms from the Bodo Liberation Tigers before it was disbanded “preposterous”, calling them “a blatant lie”. He alleged it was only aimed at giving the Dimasa guerrilla outfit a bad name.

Nunisa also said a 70-member team of delegates from the DHD attended the historic surrender ceremony of the BLT activists on December 6 in a goodwill gesture.

He further added that the DHD had hailed the Bodo peace accord as a milestone in the efforts of the Northeast rebels to secure lasting peace in the strife-torn region.

Nunisa said the DHD’s second charter of demands would include, among others, reservation of jobs for the people of North Cachar Hills in the army, police and paramilitary central troops and a seat in either House of Parliament.

Besides Nunisa, sources said, the DHD team for parleys may include its commander-in-chief Pranab Nunisa, chairman Jewel Gorlosa, and organising secretary Rongsling.

The DHD entered into a ceasefire agreement with New Delhi and Dispur on December 23. It came into effect on January 1 for a period of six months.

The Union home ministry in November agreed to invite the outfit for the peace dialogue to wrap up the decade-long Dimasa insurgency in South Assam’s North Cachar Hills after the outfit threatened to walk back to the jungles to take up arms.

Pranab Nunisa had told The Telegraph on June 2 that the outfit wanted the talks to be held either at the Prime Minister or the deputy Prime Minister level. “Since the demand we have raised is a political one, it should be discussed at the political level. The bureaucrats can certainly help the policy-makers in framing the modalities for peace talks, but they cannot solve the problem,” he had said.

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