The proscribed Hynniewtrep National Liberation Council (HNLC) on February 8 said that it is ready for peace dialogue without preconditions even as it demanded the government to speed up the 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 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,” HNLC general secretary and publicity secretary Sainkupar Nongtraw said in a statement.
The outfit has decided to give peace a chance after receiving a lot of requests from elders and social organizations in the last few days.
“After many consultations with some elders recently we have decided to come into a peaceful agreement with the Government of Meghalaya and the GOI,” Nongtraw said.
The HNLC leader also said that after the killing of the outfit’s former general secretary 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 and motivations will always remain inside us,” Nongtraw said.
“Bah Che was also in favour of the peace talks and he was assigned the task to carry forward our message with the GOI,” he added.
Stating the outfit is firm on defending the rights of the indigenous people and their land, he said: “We as an organization of armed struggle we keep the interest of our jaidbynriew as our sole concern.”
The outfit also anticipated that the people including NGOs and pressure groups will develop a stake in the peace process and become a part of the mechanism to maintain them.
“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,” it said.
Asking the government to immediately appoint an interlocutor to show its seriousness, 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 Government of India as we in the view of acknowledging that a peaceful solution shall be achieved leaving aside all bitterness. We want to regain the respect of the Hynñiewtrep existence.”
“While it is long overdue, we believe that opening and sustaining the space for a dialogue and consensus-building will lead to the peaceful resolution of the age-old conflict that has been going on for the last three decades,” he added.