We are ready for peaceful dialogue with HNLC: Sawian

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Shillong, Oct 21 (UNI) Despite the Hynniewtrep National Liberation Council (HNLC) losing grounds, Meghalaya Director General of Police, B K Dey Sawian today said the government was ready to hold talks with the outlawed militant outfit.

''The doors are open for the misguided youths to come forward to the negotiating table,'' Mr Sawian told UNI here on the sidelines of the Police Commeration Day at Police Reserve here.

The Meghalaya Police Chief was reacting to yesterday's media report that a section of senior police officials were opposed to any negotiations with HNLC on the ground that it has become a spent force.

''The government and the police are ready to have dialouge with them (HNLC) and our aim to have a dialogue is to restore peace in the state,'' Mr Sawian said.

''There is nothing in this world which cannot be sorted out with negotiations,'' he added.

Recently, the outfit's general secretary Cheristerfield Thangkhiew had extended an olive branch to the government for a peaceful dialogue.

Earlier, the HNLC had prioritised six points to be included in the ceasefire agreement between the Centre and the outfit that is lifting of the ban imposed on the organisation, 'neutral' country with passage to the members, supporters and sympathisers and making the agenda transparent for talks.

However, the Centre and state government is yet to react to the offer formally.

Last year, the tribal Khasi militant group suffered a major jolt after the chairman of the outfit Julius K Dorphang gave up his armed struggle for a sovereign ''Hynniewtrep homeland''. Dorphang sneaked inside India from his hideout in Bangladesh and surrendered before then Chief Minister D D Lapang.

Incidentally, another militant outfit of the state - A'chik National Volunteers' Council (ANVC) - operating in Garo Hills with an aim to carve out ''Greater Garoland'', entered into a tripartite ceasefire agreement on July 23, 2004.

Last month, the Centre extended the ceasefire with the ANVC for an indefinite period for the first time, unlike the earlier periodical review of the ceasefire with the militant group.

Proscribed on November 16, 2000, the HNLC was a product of a 1992 split in the Hynniewtrep A'chik Liberation Council, the first militant tribal outfit in the state. The tribal Khasi militant outfit was formed with an objective to fight for a 'sovereign Hynniewtrep homeland'.

At least 400 HNLC cadres have either surrendered, have been killed or arrested so far.


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