Home minister willing to facilitate talks with HNLC

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Amidst the reported claims made by the banned outfit HNLC about conducting IED blasts at East Jaintia Hills, Home Minister Lahkmen Rymbui has expressed his willingness to facilitate peace talks with the proscribed Hynniewtrep National Liberation Council (HNLC).

“We are very serious about the issue of the HNLC that if they really want talks, I am there to facilitate whatever may be the case but first, we should understand that any talk should not happen by threatening but it should be on mutual and conducive atmosphere…,” Rymbui told reporters on Monday.

  He was reacting to a statement made by the HNLC on Sunday that it was meaningless on the part of the state government to urge the outfit to shun the path of violence since no agreement has been reached between them.

Rymbui however said since the HNLC is a banned organization, due process has to be followed with the consent of the government of India.

“By the government saying that you (HNLC) should come to the negotiating table, it is not that we will lower our guards,” he said.

“It is the duty of the state to see that illegal activities are prevented…you have seen that those who have claimed that they have a hand in Shallang area, they have already been arrested,” he added.

The home minister also warned that the law will take its own course against the sympathizers who have been helping the HNLC.

“Any people who are under any circumstances are being threatened, they should report to the police and police will not divulge the names so that such incidents could be prevented,” he said.

Asked, Rymbui however informed that there has been no communication from the Centre to the state since November, last year when the last notification of banning the HNLC was issued.

“In any talks, there are so many channels which are working I cannot say everything is closed or it is there but from home police to the best of my knowledge there is nothing as such,” he said.

To another question, the home minister said that he cannot say whether there is any political hand behind the HNLC’s activities.

“…all I can say that it is generally, any organization (would) try to make themselves relevant again but the Centre and state governments are looking into all these aspects,” he said.

“Having said that, (I want to reiterate that) our door is open for talks but the formal letter of talk till date we have not received. (However) if we receive, then we will surely sit and deliberate and if needed to open a formal or informal channel, the government is open to anything,” Rymbui asserted.