ANVC holds first round of talks with central interlocutor

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Shillong, Mar 17 (ANI): The representatives of the banned outfit Achik National Volunteer Council (ANVC), a Garo rebel group demanding autonomy, held the first round of talks with the Central government interlocutor P C Haldar here on Tuesday.

ANVC, a tribal Garo rebel group operating in Meghalaya's Garo Hills region, is fighting for the creation of Garoland Territorial Council.

The group had entered into a tripartite ceasefire with the central and the state governments on July 23, 2004.

However, two months ago, the group had threatened to break the truce if the central government failed to come forward with an "acceptable solution" to its demands.

State chief D D Lapang then sent his officials last week to New Delhi to impress upon Home Ministry on the need for extension of the ceasefire.

ANVC's spokesperson, Torik Jangning Marak, said that the joint monitoring committee would be meeting again soon to discuss the matter before the ceasefire expires on March 31.

"ANVC is not pulling out from the ceasefire agreement but it was put forward in the last joint monitoring meeting that suspension of operation would be limited till March 31 by the central government. So it was basically a unilateral decision, so we felt very unhappy about it but ultimately we have come to certain understanding that we will be sitting again very soon during the suspension of operation and today we have not talked on that. We will be deciding on that matter very soon," said Marak.

Calling the meeting 'encouraging', Marak also said that the central government should at least give them some assurance that their demands would be seriously looked into.

"Regarding the discussion on our demands, it was very encouraging but we feel it should go ahead. We should have a kind of assurance from the government that our demands are going to be looked into seriously," said Marak.

He added that they would not go back on their demand for an autonomous body like the Garoland Territorial Council.

"They have not come out against our demands. We have to work out on the feasibility of our demands. At the same time, we are not coming down from the governing autonomous council because we have already come down from the statehood demand to the autonomous council, where we are asking for more autonomy in the council," added Marak.

However, Haldar called the meeting 'fruitful'.

"I had talked with the ANVC representatives. We had detailed discussion and it was very fruitful, very useful. We will continue with the discussion further," said Haldar. (ANI)

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