SHILLONG, April 20: Joint Secretary Home in-charge North East, Satyendra Garg has revealed that the Centre is not actively considering any further proposals to initiate talks with militant groups at this juncture.
“The Government of India is not considering any other proposal at this moment to initiate talks with any militant groups,” said Garg soon after his meeting with senior government officials to discuss the fulfillment of the Agreed Text of Settelment (ATS) with ANVC and ANVC – B held here in the city on Thursday.
When asked about the Centre’s will to initiate talks with other banned militant outfits of the state like the Garo National Liberation Army (GNLA) and Hynniewtrep National Liberation Council, Garg said, “If the need be, yes, but the question is at this moment we don’t have a proposal. There are certain groups the state government may be talking to them and I think if things come through, good enough but GOI at this point is not actively considering any further proposals.”
“In peace negotiations, unless it is at that level, the Centre does not intervene. I am sure the State Government assesses the situation and accordingly they take care of it, but if the Centre’s intervention is required at any level that of course comes, but ground rules are simple, first of all people have to absolve violence, they have to abide by the constitution,” he added.
It may be recalled that Meghalaya Chief Minister, Dr. Mukul Sangma had earlier said there would be no more political dialogue with any militant outfit, but militants would be pursued to come overground as previous experiences to hold political talks with militant outfits, have resulted in ‘burnt fingers’. The Chief Minister had also offered a one-time peace settlement with all militant groups active in the state, in an attempt to re-strategize the government’s approach to deal with the mushrooming of such groups.
Two major outfits of Meghalaya, the A’chik National Volunteers’ Council (ANVC) and its breakaway faction, the ANVC.B, were formally disbanded at a public ceremony; however other active prominent militant groups like the GNLA and HNLC are yet to hold any talks with the government.
Meanwhile, the outlawed Hynniewtrep National Liberation Council (HNLC) has given a one month ultimatum to the state government to come clear on its stand on taking up a peace initiative with the outfit. In a recent statement, the HNLC had expressed it resentment towards the state government and the Chief Minister Dr. Mukul Sangma for its failure to appoint any interlocutor for the last one year to discuss peace across the table.
The outfit has also stated that it will directly approach to Home Minister, Rajnath Singh and Prime Minister, Narendra Modi if the government of Meghalaya finds it difficult to take the initiative for peace talks.
The HNLC has also claimed that though it has been expressing its will to come to the negotiating table, it was being provoked by the police department to take up violence.