The proscribed Hynniewtrep National Liberation Council (HNLC), on February 8, said that it is ready for peace dialogue without any preconditions even as it demanded the government to speed up appointment of an interlocutor.
“As of now we are ready to talk within the ambit of the Indian Constitution and we are ready to have talks without any preconditions. This is for the general information that the Standstill Agreement (SA) and the Instrument of Accession (IOA) shall not be included. If the Government of India (GOI) is willing then we are ready to go for a dialogue (sic),” HNLC general secretary-cum-publicity secretary Sainkupar Nongtraw said in a statement here.
Stating that now, the ball is in the government’s court, Nongtraw said, “Our aim is to end this conflict and at this point of time, we believe that we can achieve whatever we want through peaceful means provided the sincerity of the government. After decades of confrontation and suffering, we the HNLC decided to have a dialogue with the GOM and the GOI as we, in the view of acknowledgement that a peaceful solution shall be achieved leaving aside all bitterness. We want to regain the respect of the Hynñiewtrep existence.”
In its statement, the outfit informed that the decision to hold talks was arrived at after consultations with elders and organisations over the last few days. “After much consultation with some elders, we have decided to come into a peaceful agreement with the Government of Meghalaya (GOM) and the GOI,” Nongtraw said.
The HNLC leader also said that after the killing of the outfit’s former general secretary (L) Cherishterfield Thangkhiew in an alleged fake encounter, the peace process was derailed.
“His death brought so much sadness to the whole Hynñiewtrep region. We lost a true leader and his teachings, motivations will always remain with us,” Nongtraw said, adding “(L) Bah Che was also in favour of the peace talks and he was assigned the task to carry forward our message with the GOI.”
The outfit also said that the people, including NGOs and pressure groups, would develop a stake in the peace process and become a part of the mechanism. “As assured by some elders, the peace talks shall provide an excellent opportunity for the government to set up and strengthen peace in the region,” the statement read.