SHILLONG, May 11: The proscribed Hynniewtrep National Liberation Council (HNLC) will have to lay down its arms before it can engage in peace talks with the government, according to State Home Minister, James Sangma.
Underscoring the stance of the state government on the condition for peace talks with militant organizations, James said, “I have been saying this time and again that it is only after surrendering that we (government) will initiate any kind of talks. They (militant group) have to give up their arms only then we will think about talking.”
His statement came a day after the HNLC in a statement expressed its readiness to come forward for talks and had asked the Meghalaya Democratic Alliance government to decide on the offer.
HNLC publicity secretary Sainkupar Nongtraw had stated that this is the right time for the government to show its positive side as the outfit is ready to come forward to reach for an amicable solution.
“Now the ball is in the government’s court as to decide whether it wants to give us a chance to enter the mainstream or continue our unending struggle,” Nongtraw had said.
However, stating that it (talks) should be a two sided win win situation, Nongtraw said, “We do not want to carry on with violence anymore. But if our appeals are not being taken seriously then we shall be bound to intensify our struggles further thereby disrupting peace.”
Reacting to this, James said that the stand of the government is very clear that any kinds of talks will be after the HNLC shuns the path of violence and surrender their arms. “That is the start of any kind of talks,” he added.