The central government is still open to talks with the outlawed Hynniewtrep National Liberation Council (HNLC), Deputy Chief Minister Prestone Tynsong, who also holds the Home portfolio, said today.
“We are still inviting them (HNLC) on behalf of the state government to please not discontinue the peace talks,” Tynsong said.
The HNLC withdrew from peace negotiations with the government, claiming that the government had failed to address its five main demands, which include dropping all charges against the leaders and members of the group.
Recently, it purported to reach out to Tynsong through a Facebook post, saying that it was willing to return to the negotiation table only according to the terms and conditions of the HNLC, one of which is that the militants choose the venue.
The Deputy CM termed the social media post as “drama” by the rebel group.
“As I have clarified earlier, if you (HNLC) are afraid (of being arrested over the criminal charges), then we have also given an assurance of safe passage. If you want to talk outside Meghalaya, we are open to that too, just propose the location,” he said. “But when I said this, it is not for them to write in social media that we are inviting Prestone for talks because that cannot be taken as official. Officially it is not Prestone who is inviting them. It is the government of India and the state government which are inviting the HNLC for talks.”