Almost after over two decades, the dreaded ban outfit of Meghalaya, the Hynniewtrep National Liberation Council (HNLC), had finally come out open to express their desire to begin the formal peace talk with the state and central government.
For the first time in history, senior leaders of the HNLC led by vice chairman Manbhalang Jyrwa and Political Secretary Aristarwell Thongni, along with their personal security officers (PSO), which includes Storgy Lyngdoh and Raymond Lapang, on 23 May, held a press conference at the MeECL Inspection Bungalow at Umiam to discuss on their objectives of coming out for a peace talk.
During the interaction with media persons, senior leaders of the HNLC asserted that amnesty would be its main agenda in the first formal tripartite talks with the state government and the centre, starting from the first week of June 2023.
HNLC vice chairman Manbhalang Jyrwa said that they had decided to come to Meghalaya to inform the people of the state that the “HNLC has not come to surrender, but they have come to discuss for a peace talk with the state and central government”.
Manbhalang Jyrwa said that in this generation, the best way of serving the people of the state (Jaitbynriew) is through discussion, and the Council felt it necessary to listen to both governments. Still, at the same, the HNLC will not divert its objectives of agreeing to a peace talk.
“The status right now is, we will be having formal talks very soon in the first week of June, and only after the formal talks then, only will we be able to deliberate further, and people of the state (Jaitbynriew) will know what is out objectives of coming to the table for talks,” said Manbhalang Jyrwa.
It is known that the HNLC have quite several agendas and objectives to be placed before the state and central government. Still, despite meeting the press, senior leaders of the HNLC and their interlocutor does willing to shed light.
Going by the motive behind the formation of HNLC way back in 1992, the Council claimed to represent the Khasi-Jaintia tribal people, and it aims to safeguard the interest of the indigenous Khasi-Jaintia community.
With the objectives to safeguard the interest of the indigenous Khasi-Jaintia community, the vice chairman of HNLC expressed that the Council would like to see the central government give the nod for the implementation of the inner line permit (ILP) in Meghalaya besides providing due recognition to the Khasi language.
Manbhalang Jyrwa said that the HNLC, since its inception, has looked at the violation of the Instrument of Accession and Annexed Agreement as “a big aggression” and that the outfit, through the peace process, wanted this to be rectified and the same will be reviewed after the first formal talk.
“We are not against India, we are not against any government, we are not against any community or religion, but we are also concerned for our own communities; hence we will push for a mechanism that will protect the interest of the indigenous Khasi-Jaintia community and at the same, we will push for special recognition of our community’s culture, language and others,” said Manbhalang Jyrwa.
HNLC interlocutor Sadon K. Blah while talking to media persons, said that negotiation could not be held without conditions; hence amnesty was the top most agenda of the Council to go ahead with the peace talk.
Sadon Blah asserted that the peace process cannot move forward until and unless both the centre and the State government consider amnesty for the organisation as a whole and all these individual members.
“We cannot go straight into the political demands of the organisation. In these four-five deliberations, we talked about the safe passage for the leaders of the HNLC to be able to come to India and have face-to-face discussions. The same was agreed upon about a year ago so that all the participating leaders of the HNLC could move freely to proceed with the peace process,” said Sadon Blah.