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Truce awaits cabinet nod

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New Delhi, Feb. 13: The Union ministry of home affairs has referred the draft of the “agreed text for settlement” for the final peace pact to the Cabinet Committee on Political Affairs, headed by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, for approval.

“The text has been referred to the committee for further examination and approval,” MHA joint secretary (Northeast) Shambhu Singh told The Telegraph today.

Singh said the ministry had received the clarifications last month from the Meghalaya government on the draft of the “agreed text for settlement” and incorporated the state’s views into the draft text, which has been referred to the committee for further deliberations and approval.

Once the draft text is approved by the committee, Singh said, signing of the final peace pact with the A’chik National Volunteer Council (ANVC) in the Garo hills region would take place.

Singh, however, did not specify when the committee would meet and said deliberations would follow soon, possibly after the session of Parliament, which ends on February 21.

The ANVC had signed the “agreed text for settlement” with the state and the Centre on Janaury 5, 2013. The breakaway group, ANVC (B), was also allowed to be a part of the settlement, though it is a separate organisation under the “chairmanship” of Rimpu Marak, once the spokesman for the ANVC who deserted the organisation when peace talks were in progress.

On the inclusion of ANVC (B) in the peace agreement, Singh said the outfit was considered a part of the peace pact, under the ANVC umbrella.

To a question on the demand to increase seats in the Garo Hills Autonomous District Council (GHADC), the MHA official said the issue could be addressed by amending the Constitution.

But even if the “agreed text for settlement” is approved, the demand to have 40 seats in the autonomous district council will not happen only through a constitutional amendment to the Sixth Schedule.