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Shun violence, we'll ensure rehabilitation: CM

Sentinel Digital DeskBy : Sentinel Digital Desk

  |  21 March 2018 12:00 AM GMT

From a correspondent

Shillong, March 20: Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma on Tuesday said the government will talk only with those militant groups who give up arms. He was replying to a question raised by tiolist Congress Party (NCP) legislator from Gambegre Saleng A Sangma.

Gambegre Sangma told the Meghalaya Assembly that certain surrendered militants were back to their old lives as there were no follow-up actions by previous governments.

He said the earlier governments should have taken initiatives to check that the militants who had given up arms were properly rehabilitated. He added taht slain Garo tiol Liberation Army (GNLA) chief Sohan D Shira had surrendered before the then Chief Minister DD Lapang in the presence of then Deputy Chief Minister Mukul Sangma and senior government officials at the official residence of Lapang on August 25, 2007. In 2009, he again took up arms and formed GNLA along with cop-turn-militant Champion Sangma. However, Champion was arrested in 2012, he said.

Taking part during the Question Hour of the Budget Session, he said the government should appoint psychologists to rehabilitate the militants back into the mainstream.

In his reply, Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma made it clear that the government will talk only with those militant groups who give up arms.

The Chief Minister said his government is not against peace talks but certain procedures need to be followed.

“The government’s stand is clear. We are not going to negotiate with militants who come with arms,” the Chief Minister said.

He, however, said that there should be a give-and-take policy. “Shun violence and we’ll ensure you rehabilitation package,” he added.

The Chief Minister also said that militancy was not the problem but the outcome of socio-economic issues. He also informed the House that the State government had formed a screening committee comprising the State Director General of Police, the Additiol Chief Secretary and the Inspector General of Police.

The Chief Minister said the committee will look as to which cadres are eligible for the rehabilitation package.

He also said the three basic criteria for availing the rehabilitation package are: those who surrender with arms, those who had gone for training outside the country, and those who the Special Branch of the State police thinks for rehabilitation.

The Chief Minister also said at present the rehabilitation package for surrendered militants is Rs 1.5 lakh along with a monthly stipend of Rs 3,000, and said there is also a proposal to amend the package.

Earlier, initiating the issue during the Question Hour, Congress legislator from Mawlai Process T Sawkmie said the government was negative in its approach by not proposing to invite all militants groups for talks.

“We have to be flexible. It seems the government has closed all doors for negotiation,” Sawkmie said.

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