The Mizoram government and the Hmar Peoples’ Convention (Democratic) signed a peace pact on Monday evening.
The peace agreement brought an end to a 24-year-old conflict.
“What we sign today is a declaration from the HPC (D) leaders before the people of Mizoram that they are ready to sacrifice their ideals for the sake of peace, and that they don’t accept violence as the means of defending their ideas,” Lalbiakzama, Mizoram Additional Home Secretary said.
The agreed seven points Memorandum of Settlement include giving administrative autonomy to the enhanced hills council within the framework of the memorandum and that the surrendered cadres would be granted amnesty.
Chairman of HPC (D) H Zosangbera signed the treaty on behalf of HPC (D) while Arvind Ray, Chief Secretary of Mizoram signed the agreement on the state’s behalf.
“Nowhere have we seen a political dialogue between a government and an armed group without defining a proper ground rules and suspension of operation, this peace accord is an evidence and testimony of our shared interest and oneness. I cannot help but say that we are stepping into a new chapter where we can aspire to envision a new future together,” read a statement made by the HPCD chairman, who was too weak to deliver a speech.
HPC (D) chairman H Zosangbera is suffering from cancer.
“It is an emotional moment to see H Zosangabera being clutched to the venue; this is an epitome of a man who would do anything for peace,” Lalrinmawia Ralte, Political Adviser of Chief Minister said.
Ralte led the Mizoram delegations at the last round of talks with the HPC (D).
“We just cannot give peace to anyone; peace can only be had between two willing parties. Now we may have agreed on certain resolutions, but a time will come when differences will arise, that is when two willing parties need to make an effort for peace to survive,” Lalrinmawia Ralte said.
According to the memorandum of settlement signed, the HPC (D) cadres will lay down their arms at a tentative date which is slated on April 4 & 5 at Mizoram Police’s Central Training Institute, Sesawng about 40 kilometres from Aizawl.
According to Additional Home Secretary Lalbiakzama, as many as 48 arms including AK 47, M16 rifles, 9mm pistols and several rounds of ammunition would be surrendered by the cadres of HPC (D) and that the number of cadres will be above hundred.