Former Chief Minister and leader of opposition Mukul Sangma questioned the consistency of Meghalaya government’s stand in dealing with militant groups and asked the government to make its stand public on the proscribed Hynñiewtrep National Liberation Council (HNLC).
“I have not heard the stand of present government with complete clarity. Our stand was very clear. We maintain with consistency that all members of the militants and terrorists outfits, whether it is GNLA or HNLC must take the advantage of the offer of the government to withdraw themselves from the organisation which they belonged to and surrender and assimilate themselves to the national mainstream,” Mukul told reporters here.
According to the former chief minister, many of them have taken advantage of the offer which was available for all.
“Did we say that the offer was not available for HNLC? If they wanted a special treatment, that is not available. Whether it was for Sohan D Shira or whoever, the special treatment is not available and they have to withdraw from their respective organisations. There was no lack of consistency regarding the stand of the then government in dealing with militants,” he said.
Asked whether surrendered “general secretary” Cheristerfield Thangkhiew should face trial, Mukul said, “You may withdraw or surrender, but the stand of the government has been that the earlier crimes will not be pardoned. The law of the land will prevail and this is same for all.
“Even for members of NGOs, we have not dropped in respect of murder cases and other things. How can the government say that even for murder we will pardon. You have to understand the background in a state which has gone through the turmoil, agony and pain because of militancy and terrorist organisations. We don’t fear any individual, but we fear the law,” he said.
On the allegation of Thangkhiew that the Congress did not want in bringing HNLC to negotiation table, despite telephonic conversation with the then home minister, Roshan Warjri, Sangma said, “The offer to come overground was available for everybody and not in secrecy. How many times we have given press statements about anybody who wants to take advantage of the offer. We don’t reach out to individuals like that, and was not authorised to reach out to anybody not even the home minister.
“Let me be very clear as these issues are being taken up by the political department and not by home (police). The stand of the government is piloted by the political department and based on that, directives are given to whoever is directed with certain specific task. But if somebody does on their own as self-styled negotiator, it is dangerous and they may misuse it,” he said.
Sangma further said that it has to be found out whether deputy chief minister Prestone Tynsong was talking regularly earlier and that after the formation of the new government they “happily brought” and made them surrender.
“Whether he (Tynsong) was in talk with this guy (HNLC general Secretary) the whole year? May be they have used them (HNLC) during the last election. We should find it out,” he said.