Our leaders given safe passage for talks, says Meghalaya’s banned group HNLC | Latest News India

Sadan K Blah said on Tuesday that leaders of the banned Khasi rebel outfit Hainivtrep National Liberation Council (HNLC) have been given safe passage to hold talks with state government interlocutors.

Blah, who is also the president of Hyniwtrep National Youth Front (HNYF), said that at least three meetings were held with HNLC executive members including retired IAS officer Peter S Dakhar.

“(After this), the central and state governments have agreed to provide safe passage to HNLC leaders engaged in talks for the peace process,” he said. The safe passage will enable HNLC leaders to hold direct discussions with the authorities and this will speed up the peace process.

Blah said talks are likely to take place in the next few days or weeks.

The group, which claims to fight for the Khasi-Jaintia tribal community against outsiders, agreed to sit for talks with the state government in February this year.

Asked whether the group would sign a ceasefire agreement with the government, Blah said: “If a ceasefire is to happen, it will happen only after the HNLC puts forward their vision before the central and state governments.”

“Only after the safe passage, only after consent is obtained and the public will know what are the second chapter or political agendas or issues that the HNLC wants to put forward to the state and central governments,” he said.

He said the HNLC was serious about the peace process and would refrain from any “aggressive activities”.

When asked if the HNLC’s decision to join the mainstream meant the end of militancy in the Khasi-Jaintia Hills region, Blah said there was no certainty.

“In most cases, you see militancy in the Northeast because there are disaffected elements who feel hatred against the system and people who are not happy with the system. Once HNLC goes mainstream, I can’t say it will be the end (of extremism), it may be the end of existing militancy, but I don’t think it will be the end of militancy,” he said.

Blah said the ongoing peace process with the HNLC is completely different from the peace settlement with the disbanded A’chik Rashtriya Swayamsevak Vandal (ANVC), a once powerful rebel group operating in the Garo Hills region of Meghalaya, and the ANVC-B. He said the agendas and issues the HNLC had were completely different from what the ANVC had presented before the government.

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