Shillong: The unexpected twist emerged when the key figures in the banned Khasi militant group, Hynniewtrep National Liberation Council (HNLC), declined participation in the ongoing peace discussions unless all charges against them were dropped.
In a press statement on Friday, the leaders of the outfit expressed their inability to participate in the discussion till the government is ready to drop all pending cases against them and signing of a ceasefire agreement. “Currently, the initial round of official talks has commenced under the guidance of our former vice chairman. However, the government insists on the participation of the Chairman and General secretary,” HNLC chairman Bobby Marwein and general secretary-cum-publicity secretary Sainkupar Nongtraw said.
“We have clearly stated that unless all pending cases against us are withdrawn or a framework agreement for a ceasefire is signed, the HNLC chairman or general secretary cannot participate in the discussions,” they said, adding “Officially, we have entrusted our newly appointed vice chairman, Teimiki Laloo, with overseeing the process and evaluating its progress.”
Marwein and Nongtraw said that the HNLC has actively sought political dialogue with the Government of India in an effort to establish lasting peace. “We firmly believe that a political solution is essential for sustainable peace. Therefore, it is crucial that peace talks are not contingent upon predetermined terms. If conditions are to be imposed, they should be agreed upon by both parties rather than dictated by one side alone,” they asserted.
Stating that peace talks are intended to facilitate a solution through negotiations and diplomatic efforts, the top leaders said, “However, the Government of India seems to perceive these talks as a form of surrender or disarmament.”
“We desire a lasting peace that encompasses freedom and justice while acknowledging and respecting the concerns and aspirations of the Hynniewtrep people as a unified entity. We firmly oppose any notion of temporary peace that could jeopardize our national existence and right to self-determination,” they concluded.