Mukul Sangma offers one-time settlement

Shillong, June 4: Meghalaya Chief Minister Mukul Sangma on Wednesday said his Government is offering a one-time peace settlement with all militant groups active in the state, an attempt to re-strategize the government’s approach to dealing with the mushrooming of militant groups, especially in the Garo Hills region.

The decision came a day after the Garo National Liberation Army (GNLA) executed a 35-year old woman last evening after she resisted their molestation and rape attempt in a remote Raja Rongat village in South Garo Hills.

“I would like to urge all militant outfits in the state to stop all acts of criminal activities if they expect the government to engage in dialogue with them for bringing in a conducive environment and sustained peace for growth and development,” Mukul told reporters.

He said the decision came in the wake of the pleas made by members of civil societies and religious organizations to provide them (Militants) an opportunity of engaging for talks.

“We had a review… and as you are aware, we had lots of brain storming discussion at the level of government. Today… as we re-strategize our approach, any such offer of talks will be linked to their commitment to stop all acts of criminal activities,” he said.

While providing them this opportunity, the Chief Minister said, “We will also ensure that all the necessary efforts of the government to neutralize these militant outfits (by the security forces) will continue.”

“This dialogue (peace talks) doesn’t mean that while they continue to indulge in various criminal activities, we will allow them to have a dialogue…” he said.

“They will have to stop all acts of criminal activities. This kind of commitment is expected from every militant organizations and terrorist organization if they want to engage in dialogue with the government,” Mukul said.

With regards to the outlawed Garo National Liberation Army (GNLA), the Chief Minister said the state government has finalized the list of interlocutors to engage with them.

He however said the government will provide them an opportunity to engage in dialogue provided that they (GNLA) also immediately stop all acts of criminal activities – extortion, intimidation, killings kidnapping.

“Based on this, we will examine their offer and work out modalities for them and provide sustainable livelihood programs,” he said.

He also said that the state government had also shared the view of the MHA to jointly agree on allowing them to engage in dialogue wherein the interlocutor will be jointly decided with MHA.

“We have also indicated the names to MHA and as we meet the Union Home Minister and Minister of State Home and dwelt upon all issues as to how to go about it,” Mukul said.

 

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