Mizoram to start peace talks with Hmar

Mizoram to start peace talks with Hmar terror outfit

Aizawl, June 17 (IANS) The Mizoram government said on Friday it will soon start peace talks with Manipur-based terror outfit Hmar People’s Convention (Democratic) or HPC (D).

The HPC (D) has resorted to violence since 1994 to push its demand for an autonomous council in Mizoram for the Hmar tribals.

“The Mizoram government would soon initiate talks with HPC (D) militant outfit. However, we would not concede the demand for a separate autonomous district council,” Home Minister R. Lalzirliana said here at a conference of the Mizoram Police Service Association.

The people of the state were against formation of an autonomous body on ethnic lines, the minister said.

“We have sent feelers through local leaders to the HPC (D). The formal official initiatives would also be undertaken soon,” Lalzirliana said.

Earlier, negotiations between the state government and HPC (D) leadership got stuck in 2013 on the issue of extension of the period of suspension of operations.

Lalzirliana had earlier said that no peace talks can be initiated with HPC-D unless the outfit eschews violence.

Mizoram is the first and only state in India which got Rs 182.45 crore from the central government in 2000-01 as “Peace Bonus” for keeping peace after decades of insurgency.

That record was shattered on March 28 last year when the HPC-D ambushed a police party in Mizoram and killed three personnel and seriously wounded six others.

The state shares unfenced border of 404 km with Myanmar and 318 km with Bangladesh where terrorists occasionally take shelter after committing crime in Mizoram.

Barring stray violence committed by HPC or HPC (D), the state has largely been peaceful since 1986 when the Centre signed the Mizoram Accord with the Mizo National Front (MNF), which had been engaged for two decades in a secessionist movement.

As MNF’s founder leader Laldenga, a former Indian Army Havildar, became chief minister and his group took to mainstream politics, calm returned to Christian-majority Mizoram.

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