Meghalaya government open to talks with rebel groupsBy IANS
Tuesday, November 30, 2010
SHILLONG - Meghalaya Chief Minister Mukul Sangma Tuesday said his government is open for meaningful dialogue with the secessionist Hynniewtrep National Liberation Council (HNLC) and other rebel groups.
“The state government is always open to meaningful dialogue with any such outfit, including the HNLC, provided that the outfit indicates its keenness to do so, and it is within the framework of the constitution of India,” Sangma told the assembly during the question hour.
He, however, said the operations against the outlawed HNLC would continue.
The HNLC, which runs hit-and-run operations from its hideout in Bangladesh, has been demanding a sovereign Khasi homeland in Meghalaya.
Meghalaya shares a 443-km border with Bangladesh, part of which is porous, hilly and unfenced, and prone to frequent infiltration.
“Succesive governments have tried to prevail upon the HNLC to sit for a dialogue, but no clear-cut indication has come from the outfit,” Sangma said.
Nonetheless, the activities of the tribal Khasi militant outfit has drastically been reduced after many of its hardcore cadres surrendered, the chief minister said.
However, Leader of Opposition Conrad K. Sangma of the Nationalist Congress Party accused the ruling Congress-led coalition government of not being sincere and committed in solving militancy in the state.
“It appears the government is least bothered and they don’t even know how many times the government and Achik National Volunteer Council’s (ANVC) had held talks,” he said.
The ANVC, a powerful rebel group operating in Meghalaya’s Garo Hills region, has been in a tripartite ceasefire with the central and the state governments since July 23, 2004 to facilitate the ongoing dialogue.