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Meghalaya: Banned outfit HNLC reiterates on political dialogue, unwilling to surrender
Shillong, Dec 01:
While insisting that it will be a big blow to the principles, aims and objectives of the outfit if they simply surrender, the Hynniewtrep National Liberation Council (HNLC) said that they are looking forward to give up our arms struggle and concentrate on political dialogue.
"If the political dialogue does not materialize, we don't mind continuing with our struggle because we neither lack manpower nor money power nor the firepower. This is not to be taken lightly, if we have the willingness to come forward to the negotiating table. We also have the dedication to further strengthen our armed movement, without even hesitating to press the trigger. Now the ball is in the government of Meghalaya and government of India's court to further the peace initiatives. We hope for either a positive outcome or a negative comeback," Sainkupar Nongtraw, who is also the publicity secretary of the outfit, said in the press statement issued here today.
While referring to the extension of the ban on the HNLC, he said that the outfit, time and again, had sent communique through the media expressing its willingness to come to the negotiating table. "But till date there had been no developments at all neither from the Centre nor the State Government. This clearly states that either they do not want peace or they want us to be peaceful," outfit general secretary said.
According to him, right from the year 2004, the outfit had expressed its willingness to shun the path of violence and join the mainstream adding that this attitude of the government had sent a negative response the outfit. "We have been made to believe that peace talks are a far cry and hence bloodshed should carry on. But again we are also of the opinion that we should be given a chance and a platform to voice our concerns," HNLC publicity secretary said.
He further asserted that they are ready for peace talks within the ambit of the Constitution of India or outside the Constitution as per requirements. "Our idea is to regain the respect and recognition as a nation. We are fighting for political equality. When we speak in terms of equality it does not mean equality for the right to vote or equality for employment opportunities," he said.
Meanwhile, Nongtraw observed that the main problem the region is facing is not law and order but a political one.
"Our demands are very legitimate in nature. Our objective is to end this battle. At this point of time, we believe that we can achieve whatever we want and this is possible only through peaceful means. We believe that opening and sustaining the space for dialogue and consensus building would lead to the peaceful resolution of the age old conflict that has been going on for the last three decades," outfit publicity secretary said.
Further, the HNLC general secretary said that it is high time for the Centre, State Government and the HNLC to find a common ground for peace to flourish.
"We express our faith in the government and get positive responses to our call for a political dialogue. We have realized that we need to give back to our society. We are hoping for a positive outcome from Centre and the State Government," Nongtraw added.
It may be mentioned that the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) had recently extended the ban on HNLC for its increased activities of violence and other subversive acts. The home ministry had said, the HNLC along with all its factions, wings and frontal organisations has been openly declaring as its objective the secession of the state's areas, which are largely inhabited by Khasi and Jaintia tribals, from the Indian Union.