Tuesday, April 23, 2024
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Conrad plays down Assam minister’s view on border

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SHILLONG, Feb 9: Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma on Friday said people can comment on the interstate boundary row at an individual level but the matters between the two states will ultimately get resolved at the official level.
“It is fine for people to express their emotions and I will not comment on whether they are right or wrong,” he said.
He said this while reacting to a statement made by Assam Minister Atul Bora in the Assembly that the government would not give any land to Meghalaya by betraying the sentiments of the people of Assam.
“Talks are between two governments that will decide (on settling the border row),” Sangma said.
On the allegations of Meghalaya encroaching upon Assam’s land, he said, “I do not know which encroachment is he talking about, so I cannot comment on that.”
Conrad mum on HNLC’s fresh offer for talks
While the CM discussed the interstate border dispute freely, he refrained from speaking on the offer made by the proscribed Hynniewtrep National Liberation Council for the resumption of talks with the state and central governments.
The HNLC’s offer was posted on social media without any official communication.
Sangma declined to comment on the post as he did not go through it. “But I reiterate that we are open and we would ask them to reconsider their stand. We want long-term peace,” he said.
Asked about the stand of the government, he said: “We have maintained again and again that there are certain provisions and guidelines that the MHA has prescribed, which are being followed for all organisations with which the Centre is in talks.”
“We cannot deviate from these guidelines because they are prescribed for all talks. If they start changing that for one or two organisations, there will be changes for all. So, we are ready to talk within the prescribed norms of the MHA,” he said.
To a query on dropping the charges against the outfit, he said it would depend on a case-to-case basis, a formula followed in the past too.
“But if we don’t start the process, we will never reach that point,” he added.
HNLC publicity secretary, Sainkupar Nongtraw said on social media, “I have sent a word to Prestone Tynsong that we happily agree to his offer to meet the leaders of the HNLC at a place of our choosing.”
“We will decide on the place of the meeting even if it is in any other country. We will provide him a safe passage and all the logistics from food to stay will be taken care of and therefore, there is no need to have any apprehensions or fear,” Nongtraw wrote.
In January, the HNLC withdrew from the tripartite peace talks with the Centre and the state government, stating that its demand for general amnesty to its cadres was not met.
The outfit’s interlocutor, Sadon K Blah said the tripartite talks would continue if the Meghalaya government is ready to withdraw all the cases against the leaders of the outfit and agrees to the demand of general amnesty to the cadres of the group.

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