Peace talks with HNLC possible only if they shun unlawful activities: RG Lyngdoh


By Daiaphira Kharsati


Condemning the Improvised Explosive Device (IED) blast in the heart of Shillong on August 10, Robert G Lyngdoh, the former Home Minister of Meghalaya, said that the Hynniewtrep National Liberation Council (HNLC) is trying to create an atmosphere of fear among the public and there cannot be peace talks under such circumstances.

Terming the HNLC’s activities as gundagardi, he said, “The outfit should stop its gundagardi. It is a cowardly act to attack innocent civilians just because they are soft targets. Violence will only beget more violence and if they have a problem, they should resolve it through talks,” he said, adding that the outfit should stop criminal activities and sit for peace talks with the government.

“I think we are giving them (HNLC) too much credibility. You can’t talk to every group of gundas. First and foremost, they should stop their unlawful activities and then approach the government for talks. I believe only through mutual understanding we can come to a peaceful arrangement,” he reiterated.

He also added that given a chance, he would like to take up the role of an interlocutor for facilitating the militant outfit’s return to the mainstream, provided the environment is conducive for talks. “Why not? If I am asked to talk to these people and help them join the mainstream, I will.  But I will only talk in an amicable environment, not in an atmosphere of fear," he said.

Asking the government to take the blast as an eye-opener, Robert blamed some of its “faulty policies” as the reason for the regrouping of militants in the state. Citing lack of employment opportunities as one of the key factors behind the youth joining such outfits, Robert said, “They (youth) join these outfits when they do not see a future for themselves. Something has to be done to generate employment. Running away from society and inflicting harm on people is not an inherent attribute of a human being.”

Terming the outfit as a group of youth gone astray, Lyndoh said, “I would like to help these youth get integrated into the mainstream, but first they have to surrender. Moreover, they have committed crimes and they must be subjected to trials for their unlawful deeds before initiation of any rehabilitation process.”

(Edited by Shankar Kumar Turha)


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