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Government extends ceasefire with ANVC
Correspondent SHILLONG, JUN 30:
Published on 30 Jun. 2010 11:23 PM IST
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The Meghalaya government Wednesday renewed its call for peaceful dialogue with the banned Hynniewtrep National Liberation Council (HNLC), even as the ceasefire agreement with the A’chik National Volunteers Council (ANVC) has been extended for a period of three months, a top official said here.
“Our (government) stand is to welcome any group for dialogue. We are always prepared to resolve their grievances through peaceful dialogue,” Meghalaya Chief Secretary WMS Pariat said.
Pariat’s offered an olive-branch to the tribal Khasi separatist outfit came during his announcement for the tripartite ceasefire agreements with the outlawed ANVC. The ANVC is a powerful rebel group which operates in Meghalaya’s Garo Hills region.
“The government doors are always open for dialogue, but as long as they (HNLC) are not in the negotiating table the government is free to take whatever necessary action,” Pariat told Nagaland Post.
The HNLC which carries out hit-and-run operations from its hideouts in Bangladesh has been demanding a sovereign Hynniewtrep homeland in eastern Meghalaya.
The outfit is closely linked to the NDFB as well as to the Isak-Muivah faction of the National Socialist Council of Nagaland and the National Liberation Front of Tripura.
HNLC leaders - Cheristerfield Thangkhiew and Bobby Marwein, the operational head of the armed wing of the outfit - have been hiding in Bangladesh for over two decades.
Meghalaya shares a 443-km border with Bangladesh, part of which is porous, hilly and unfenced, and prone to frequent infiltration.
On Wednesday, the Centre opted for a periodical ceasefire of three months rather to an indefinite ceasefire as proposed by the ANVC.“The decision to go for a periodical ceasefire agreement was taken by the government of India on the basis of assessment of the ground situation (in Garo Hills) and therefore, the state government has no role in it,” Pariat said.
The Chief Secretary informed that ANVC’s demand for creation of Garoland Autonomous Council is being work out and PC Haldar, the chief negotiator with the ANVC, has held consultations with the state and the ANVC on several occasions. “Everyone views will be taken into confidence before arriving for a permanent solution to ANVC’s demand,” Pariat added.
On the ANVC’s threat to return to the jungle if their proposal for an indefinite ceasefire is not met, the Chief Secretary said, “as of now it hypothetical since the extension is already made. The situation in Garo Hills is normal and our assessment does not meet your assessment.”
Accepting the periodical ceasefire, ANVC spokesman Torik Jangning Marak said, “We have been assured by the government that a permanent solution our demand will be sorted out within a timeframe of three months and that’s why we accepted the periodical truce.”
The militant group fighting for creation of Garoland Autonomous Council had entered into a tripartite ceasefire with the central and the state governments July 23, 2004.
The rebel group operates in Meghalaya’s Garo Hills region. The outfit has scaled down its demand for creation of separate Garoland state to an autonomous council in line with the Bodoland Territorial Council in Assam.
“We respect the government’s decision. We look forward to the government’s commitment for a permanent solution, but if the government is not sincere then we will cross that bridge when we come to it,” Marak warned.

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