Government and HNLC end first round of peace talks in Shillong

Peace talks between the central and state governments and the banned Hynñiewtrep National Liberation Council (HNLC) have ended in Shillong.

HNLC representatives who had arrived in the state on August 5 returned to Bangladesh yesterday for further consultations ahead of the second round of talks, HNLC interlocutor Sadon Blah, who is the chairman of the a pressure group.

Five members of the HNLC – Vice President Manbhalang Jyrwa, Political Secretary Aristerwell Thongni and Foreign Secretary Phrangkupar Diengdoh, including two of their bodyguards Aiborlem Marbaniang and Storgy Lyngdoh – took part in the peace talks with the central governments and States under the protection of safe passage.

Blah said two rounds of talks took place during their stay in the capital in the presence of officials from the Union Home Secretary and government-appointed interlocutor Peter Dkhar.

“So far the discussions were good and now the HNLC members have returned to Bangladesh to hold a central executive committee and general meetings and make a decision on it,” he said.

Blah said there were no terms and conditions between the two parties (governments and HNLC), but the first phase of the peace talks focused on safe passage, the security aspect and the pros and cons if d Other HNLC members were attending the next round.

Stating that there are political issues pending for more than three decades that the HNLC wants to raise, Blah said it is not appropriate to reveal as the talks have just started.

It may be mentioned that the HNLC had previously been resolute in its demand that any negotiations include the subjects of the standstill agreement and the instrument of accession and annexation, which brought the former Khasi states into the Indian Union after independence in 1947.

When asked if the peace talks would be successful, he replied, “So far everything is on track and everything has gone well.”

Blah further said that the indictment against four HNLC members will not disrupt the peace talks.