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HNLC reconsiders peace negotiations

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By Our Reporter

SHILLONG, June 29: The proscribed Hynniewtrep National Liberation Council (HNLC), previously having opted out of peace negotiations, may now be reconsidering their stance. The State government’s recent announcement to revisit the issue of amnesty appears to have reignited the possibility of talks.
HNLC interlocutor Sadon Blah, speaking to The Shillong Times, revealed, “I have already discussed with them this morning, and they will be thinking about it since the government has given the signal to reconsider amnesty.” Blah emphasised that the HNLC has not entirely closed the door on negotiations, stating, “Even from the HNLC, they have not closed the door 100 per cent to the negotiations because there are a set of demands like amnesty, lifting the ban, and withdrawal of cases. If the government complies and is willing to do that, they are still there.”
Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma had announced on Friday that the state government is in discussions with the Union government and communicating with the HNLC regarding the extent to which amnesty can be granted. He clarified that while amnesty could be considered for minor crimes, heinous crimes committed by the outfit would need to be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.
Previously, the HNLC had withdrawn from tripartite peace talks with the Centre and the state, alleging that their core demands had not been addressed. The demand for amnesty was a key point during the initial round of talks held between the Centre and the state.
The state government’s willingness to revisit the amnesty demand might just be the catalyst needed to bring the HNLC back to the negotiating table, potentially paving the way for renewed peace efforts in the region.

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