SHILLONG: The Hynniewtrep National Liberation Council (HNLC), a proscribed militant outfit in Meghalaya, has raised its voice against the state government for summoning its general secretary to court despite the ongoing peace negotiations.
In a statement issued by Sainkupar Nongtraw, who serves as both the general secretary and publicity secretary of HNLC, the outfit on Sunday vehemently condemned the government’s decision during the ongoing formal peace talks.
While the state government requested his presence at a meeting with a strict deadline of September 30, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has specifically asked all senior leaders of HNLC to appear in person.
Nongtraw pointed out that this move by the government has not only eroded trust but also has the potential to disrupt the peace-building efforts. He highlighted that the HNLC remains committed to the peace process and has consistently engaged in negotiations with the state government. In the statement he also expressed concern over what he sees as a “double standard on the part of the government”.
HNLC reiterated its stance that none of its leaders or cadres will come forward publicly until its political objectives are realised. The group urged the government to engage with the delegation sent by the vice chairman, approved by the HNLC central executive committee, to facilitate the peace process.
“We demand that the charges against HNLC leaders be dropped, and a general amnesty be offered. Without these essential steps, our key leaders will not actively participate in the ongoing negotiations. If the government continues with this attitude, we may be left with no option but to withdraw from the talks entirely,” Nongtraw was quoted as saying in the local press.
While expressing their commitment to achieving lasting peace and a political solution, Nongtraw called on the government to reassess its actions and collaborate on a mutually agreeable solution.
The statement also referenced the historical context of the HNLC’s struggle, citing the lack of implementation of agreements in the Northeast and the violation of the standstill agreement between the Government of India (GoI) and the Federation of Khasi States. He urged the government to demonstrate a commitment to meeting the political demands of the HNLC, drawing a parallel to the government’s stance on the division of Jammu and Kashmir.