The Chief Minister had insinuated his government’s readiness to hold peace talks with the outfit, should it shun the path of violence
Shillong, January 22: The proscribed Hynniewtrep tiol Liberation Council (HNLC) has called a 24–hour bandh with effect from 5 p.m. of January 25 to 5 p.m. of January 26 to demand the ‘right to self existence’, even as top officials in the home department termed the proposed shutdown as a step of derailing the overtures of holding peace parleys.
The Chief Minister had insinuated his government’s readiness to hold peace talks with the outfit, should it shun the path of violence. The HNLC has even showed its inclition to hold peace parleys by asking the State government to appoint an interlocutor.
There have been some back channel negotiations to fructify the initiatives undertaken few months ago. “However, the bandh called by the HNLC is like pouring cold water to the little strides taken,” stated an official in the state home department on condition of anonymity.
The Chief Minister Mukul Sangma and the Home Minister could not be contacted for their reaction, but the official felt that the political leadership should understand the lack of sincerity on the part of the HNLC to enter into a dialogue. The State police set–up has maintained stoic silence on the government’s recent expression of interest in talking to the HNLC, but unofficially they considered the outfit as a spent force. “They are no more a force to reckon with in Khasi–Jaintia Hills,” stated a senior police official on condition of anonymity, adding, by quoting the surrendered cadres, the strength of the outfit should not cross 50. This is inclusive of the recent recruits. In spite of the underrated assessment of HNLC’s striking abilities, the police has tightened up the security arrangement in Shillong and other parts of the State ahead of the Republic Day celebrations. Extra officers and police personnel have been requisitioned to tighten up security besides intensifying patrol teams and putting up armed ka teams in all important points, informed the SP East Khasi Hills M Kharkrang.
“We don’t foresee any threat from the HNLC but we have enhanced our security blanket because we do not take any threat lightly,” stated Kharkrang.