Meghalaya Govt iterates call to HNLC militants leaders for peace talks


Shillong: Meghalaya Deputy Chief Minister in-charge Home, Prestone Tynsong, has reiterated that the top leaders of the outlawed Hynñiewtrep National Liberation Council (HNLC) should take part in the next round of peace negotiations, even as he promised a safe passage to the two leaders who are in Bangladesh.

“This time we really wanted to reach the conclusion. Therefore, we requested (top HNLC leadership) to come, and we assure you that if you want to come, safe passage will be given,” Tyngsong said.

“If you (HNLC) feel that it is not safe within Meghalaya, we are ready to talk anywhere else, be it Kolkata or any other place. Both the central and state governments are open-minded and serious about the peace talks going forward,” he assured.

“My request to the top leaders of the HNLC is very clear – the door is still open, and we would request them to kindly come back for talks and we are ready to talk across the table,” Tynsong said.

In a joint statement, HNLC chairman Bobby Marwein and general secretary-cum-publicity secretary Sainkupar Nongtraw set conditions for the next round of negotiations.

“We have clearly stated that unless all pending cases against us are withdrawn or a framework agreement for a ceasefire is signed, the HNLC chairman or general secretary cannot participate in the discussions,” Marwein and Nongtraw had said.

However, Tyngsong reiterated that Marwein and Nongtraw need to come forward and participate in the next round of talks.

“I have seen the statement made by the HNLC recently, but my request again to the HNLC is like this, please come back for talks because until and unless we talk face-to-face about what you really want, we will not reach anywhere. We have been sincere enough, not less than three-four months; we have taken care of their cadres; we have taken care of them be it safety, and there was no such arrest also, why are you having that apprehension?” Tynsong asked.