Shillong MP and state Congress Party MP Vincent Pala has urged the outlawed Hynñiewtrep National Liberation Council (HNLC) to stick with the stalled peace talks for the sake of the general public.
The militant group had recently decided to withdraw from the tripartite peace talks unless the Meghalaya government agrees to withdraw all the criminal cases registered against the leaders of the outfit. However, the government has maintained that to do so is no simple matter as the law must take its own course.
Pala also accused the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led central government of repeatedly failing to bring the menace of militancy to an end.
“Unfortunately, the HNLC is ready to come to the table but there’s no seriousness on the part of the BJP government at the centre as well as the state,” Pala said at a press conference here today. “The BJP’s big promises are only in its manifesto whereas, when it comes to reality, they don’t care for the people of the North East.”
It was under the Congress that the ULFA in Assam (now ruled by the BJP) was brought to the negotiating table and that state has prospered with the return of peace, he stated, adding that during the reign of the Congress the party was able to minimise the activities of underground outfits and restore peace but after the BJP took power nothing has been taken seriously.
The Congress is currently in opposition in Meghalaya and therefore has never been included in the negotiations with the HNLC.
“It’s very unfortunate to see that all the efforts that were taken to see that the bloodshed and fighting stops are now going to waste,” the MP said.
He called for the government to be “proactive and find a solution” to the demands of the HNLC.
Pala then continued with his attack against the BJP.
“The BJP signed an agreement with Nagaland militants and nothing has been done till now. They’ve signed an agreement with the ANVC (in Garo Hills) but nothing has been done. They are supposed to amend the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution but nothing has been done. So the BJP is known for its failed promises,” he said.
Being a small state, Meghalaya cannot afford to lose its citizens to violence and he also appealed to the HNLC to be patient and continue with the negotiations because they matter to the state’s economy and the life of the people.