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Meghalaya CM Conrad Sangma

Shillong: While the process for the tripartite peace talks between the Government of India, Meghalaya Government and banned militant outfit Hynñiewtrep National Liberation Council (HNLC) is in the process, Meghalaya chief minister Conrad K Sangma on Thursday has assured the members safety.

Sangma, while speaking with media persons at the NPP office party in Shillong, said that it is the duty of the government to ensure that the safety of each and everybody who comes for the talks is maintained.

Stating that they (HNLC) have expressed their concerns on security, Sangma mentioned that all the discussions they have had in terms of the entire process has led to this moment and are hopeful that very soon the official talks will start.

The process for peace talks has been going on for several months now. 

Unable to provide details of the peace talks, Sangma said that they are positive the outcome will be successful and will do their best to do that to reach those conclusions.

“But let me assure everybody that all the concerns that have been raised by the members of the HNLC on safety issues will be addressed and we will ensure that all steps are taken to ensure the safety is given,” emphasised Sangma.

On Wednesday, August 3, HNLC authorised five of its members, including the vice chairman, political secretary and foreign secretary, to participate in the ongoing tripartite peace talks.

Vice Chairman of the outfit, Manbhalang Jyrwa, Political Secretary Aristerwell Thongni, and Foreign secretary Phrangkupar Diengdoh will be accompanied by two of their personal security officers – Aiborlem Marbaniang and Storgy Lyngdoh.

In a statement issued by HNLC publicity secretary Saińkupar Nongtraw, the decision to send their top leaders to engage in the ongoing peace talks is due to the trust that has been built between the HNLC and the appointed interlocutors — AK Mishra from the Ministry of Home Affairs, Peter Dkhar from the state government and the outfit’s representative, Sadon Blah, who is also the president of the Hynniewtrep National Youth Front (HNYF).

On July 19, Blah called for a press conference and informed about an agreement reached between Govt of India and Meghalaya to provide safe passage to the leaders of HNLC for engaging in peace talks.

The state government had appointed retired IAS officer Peter S Dkhar as the interlocutor for facilitating the peace talks with banned militant outfit HNLC.

On February 9, 2022, the state government welcomed the statement made by HNLC offering peace talks and sought official communication. On February 10, official confirmation was received by the government, which then appointed Dkhar on March 10.

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