Guwahati: Banned Hynniewtrep National Liberation Council (HNLC) is ready for peace talks and that too, without any pre-conditions.

Saiñkupar Nongtraw, general secretary of HNLC, on Tuesday issued a statement to announce the outfit’s decision to come forward for peace talks.

“After receiving a lot of requests in the last few days from elders and some social organizations, we (the HNLC) have decided to give peace a chance once again,” Nongtraw said.

In fact, HNLC’s response has come in less than one week of Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad K. Sangma’s appeal to the banned outfit for ‘unconditional peace talks’.

Sangma on February 2 said that his government is for peace dialects with the HNLC, and the talks should be without any pre-conditions.

Meghalaya BJP president Ernest Mawrie on Monday had also offered to mediate peace talks between the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) and the banned HNLC.

Nongtraw said the outfit leadership, after a series of consultation with some elders recently decided to go ahead with peace talks with both the state and central governments.

“As of now we are ready to talk within the ambit of the Indian constitution and we are ready to have talks without any pre-conditions,” the HNLC leader said. The banned outfit has been fighting for a sovereign homeland for the tribal Khasi population of Meghalaya.

Nongtraw claimed they continue to defend the right of the jaidbynriew (indigenous Khasi) population.

The HNLC leader said ‘killing’ of the former general secretary Cherishterfield Thangkhiew last year had derailed the peace process.

Nongtraw claimed that Thangkhiew was in favour of the peace talks and he was assigned the task to carry forward the peace initiative with New Delhi.

“As assured by some elders, the peace talks shall provide an excellent opportunity for the government to strengthen peace in the region,” the HNLC leader said.

He requested New Delhi to respond to HNLC’s offer for peace and appoint an interlocutor and show its seriousness. 

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