FROM OUR STAFF CORRESPONDENT
SHILLONG, April 23: Even as the proscribed Hynniewtrep tiol Liberation Council (HNLC) has expressed doubts on the sincerity of the state Government to hold a peace dialogue, the Chief Minister Mukul Sangma told The Sentinel that his government is waiting further correspondence from the centre before taking the peace overtures forward.
In his reaction to the queries made on the delayed response to the HNLC persistent offer to enter into a peace talks, the Chief Minister said, "We are aware and are positive towards the HNLC offer and that is why that we have been corresponding with the Union Home Ministry on how to go about it."
He refused to divulge about the detail of the correspondence between the state government and the MHA, yet lucid in putting the onus on the central government.
"The centre will determine the steps towards this issue and we'll keep on corresponding," the Chief Minister simply summed up, while referring to the state government decision to turn down the Garo tiol Liberation Army (GNLA) offer for peace talks. The Centre had then told the state government to repudiate the GNLA offer unless it gave up arms and surrender.
Similarly, another well placed source, who is privy to the correspondences, told The Sentinel, "The Centre clearly indicated the same type of conditions if there should be parleys between the state machineries and the HNLC."
"There are more than half a dozen correspondences and they don't indicate anything that such a peace talks should take place in two or three months," the source stated.
While the wings of the State and Central Intelligence have suggested in their respective reports that the HNLC is an outfit with barely 25-30 cadres, a reason for the Union government to take the offer of the outfit on a lighter, the source said, "Files at the State Home and Political department have no references on the actual strength of the HNLC". However, he corroborated that the HNLC leadership is still based in Bangladesh and has very limited cadres, after a large section of its senior members and cadres came over ground right from the 2003.