The Hynñiewtrep National Liberation Council (HNLC) on Tuesday hit out at Meghalaya Home Minister Lahkmen Rymbui stating that the ministry of Home affairs is waiting for reports from the Meghalaya political department regarding the peace talks with the group but the State Home Minister “seems to be unaware about it”.

A statement issued by Saiñkupar Nongtraw, general secretary cum Publicity secretary of HNLC also claimed that the “HNLC is a government in itself”.

“This is our land and therefore nobody should remind nor interfere into our tax collections,” Nongtraw said.

Based on the statements of the State Home Minister, Nongtraw said that the HNLC would like to come out clear upon “his blame game tactics”.

“It was during the year 2004 that the IB (intelligence bureau) had offered us to come forward for peace talks, followed by the then Governor of Meghalaya in the year 2014. Subsequently we had also accepted the governor’s offer and exercised our wisdom and sincerity by declaring a unilateral ceasefire. But our gestures were overturned due to the negative interventions of the state police and along with the manipulation of the then Government of Meghalaya behind its hidden agendas,” Nongtraw stated.

Nongtraw also said that Rymbui has stated that the government of Meghalaya had no idea about the peace talks, but he had also mentioned that he did not want to divulge into it.

Slamming Rymbui on collection of taxes by the HNLC, Nongtraw said, “by stating that only specific govt agencies empowered by law can levy tax in the state, our home minister had himself opened the pandoras box.”

“The issue of illegal coal mining is no secret and it has flourished in the state after the ban on rat hole mining. Through the nexus of coal mine owners, the MDA bigwigs, bureaucracy level, and the state police. The Home minister has spilled the beans about levying taxes. By making a statement subconsciously, forgetting that his own party along with the NPP has the rights to levy taxes (empowered by law) from thousands of coal trucks that pass out illegally every night. Right from the political masters  (NPP+UDP) , police, bureaucrats everybody has their own shares. It is an open secret that a cartel is being run by the NPP led MDA govt which is maintained by a few surrendered cadres and an ex police SOT namely Joey along with the high ranking police officials.  NPP leader from Jaiñtia hills Nidamon Chullet and Kynsai War are not new names into this cartel,” Nongtraw alleged.

The HNLC alleged that the surrendered cadres share is “Rs 1000 per truck and Rs 5000 per truck is the share of the CM and deputy CM and the home minister.”

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“The Home minister should not forget about his predecessor and why was he removed from the post of Home minister fearing getting caught up. When one talks about things which are illegal he should state so if he has enough integrity within himself to understand things as legal or illegal,” Nongtraw slammed.

Stating that the HNLC is a government in itself and nobody should remind nor interfere into “our tax collections” Nongtraw said, “If the MDA led by NPP can collect taxes from illegal coal supply then we stand firm upon our commitment to levy taxes. The government was always firm upon the HNLC  and never greeted us with flowers nor sweets.”

“Spitting venom against our council does not make the MDA government righteous at all.  The people of Meghalaya are not blind to see the achievements of the MDA govt especially in terms of corruption and financial mismanagement. The MDA govt is running all kinds of illegal activities and rampant corruption.

“Our Cadres were always shot upon, killed and tortured because we belong to a banned organisation. There are no limits to resistance, because it is our right to defend our land. We had spoken enough about peace and mutual co existence but without any results. Even if we talk about peace or hatred we shall be considered the same as mentioned ‘criminals’.

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Nongtraw said that the HNLC shall not succumb to the threats of the government of Meghalaya and rather  would intensify and motivate the fighting spirits.

“Looking back to history, Wickliffe Syiem had sought asylum from Pakistan and he was rendered help. The HNLC as a banned organization, we are also trying to establish a government in exile into a foreign country,” Nongtraw asserted.

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