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HNLC keen for political dialogue

Shillong, Dec 1: The proscribed Hynñiewtrep National Liberation Council (HNLC) has expressed its willingness to give up its armed struggle and to concentrate on a political dialogue on its issues with the Government of India.
The outfit however has stated that this depends on whether the Government of India and the Government of Meghalaya takes this peace offering seriously.
This statement has come in the backdrop of the Government of India extending the ban on the outfit through a notification which was issued by the Union Home Ministry recently.
Pointing to peace overtures that the outfit had made earlier, HNLC publicity secretary, Sainkupar Nongtraw said today that these have not had the desired result.
He added to this by saying that this shows that the Centre and also the Meghalaya government do not want peace with the outfit.
“Our objective of achieving peace is about resolving our conflict without violence. We are ready for peace talks within the ambit of the Constitution of India or outside the Constitution as per requirements. Our idea is to regain the respect and recognition as a nation,” he added.
Nongtraw also said that the HNLC it is fighting for political equality and that this does not mean the right to vote or equality for employment opportunities.
“If India has a parliament, Our Hynniewtrep land should also have one, if it has its own flag, we the Hynniewtrep people should also have one, if India has its own Constitution, we should also have one and if it has its Supreme Court, we must also have one. This is equality that the HNLC wants,” the outfit asserted.
“Time and again we had sent communiqué to the media media expressing our willingness to come to the negotiating table. Till date there had been no developments at all neither from the Centre nor the State government. This clearly states that either they do not want peace or they do not want us to be peaceful,” Nongtraw said.
“Right from the year 2004 we had been expressing our willingness to shun the path of violence and join the mainstream but nothing has been materialised as yet except the disbandment of the ANVC. This attitude of the government had sent a negative response to us and our council. This also made us believe that peace talks are a far cry and hence bloodshed should carry on. But again we are also of the opinion that we should be given a chance and a platform to voice our concerns,” Nongtraw said.
Expressing the HNLC’s desire to end the conflict, Nongtraw said, “We believe that we can achieve whatever we want and that can only be possible through peaceful means.’
He also said that the HNLC believes in the wisdom of listening, the power of participation and the strength of informed dialogue to build an understanding and trust between the Centre and State government.
“This shall become a joint effort to strengthen up the foundations of peace building. While it is long overdue, we believe that opening and sustaining the space for dialogue and consensus building would lead to the peaceful resolution of the age old conflict that has been going on for the last three decades,” he added.
Stating that the HNLC has realised the need to give back to society, Nongtraw said, “We are hoping for a positive outcome from the government’s end which would enable us to build bridges with the Centre and the State government.”