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Proscribed militant outfit HNLC seeks withdrawal of criminal charges against the outfits’ cadres

First Published: 25th June, 2023 15:45 IST

The HNLC made the demand during a tripartite peace talks with the Centre and the Meghalaya government held at Umiam in Meghalaya on Saturday

The proscribed Hynniewtrep National Liberation Council, or HNLC, has sought the withdrawal of criminal charges and amnesty against the cadres and leaders of the proscribed outfit in Meghalaya.

The HNLC made the demand during a tripartite peace talk with the Centre and the Meghalaya government held at Umiam in Meghalaya on Saturday.

HNLC interlocutor Sadon Blah, describing the first day’s talks as “positive”, said that the HNLC has demanded the withdrawal of all charges against the cadres of the outfit to pave the way for successful talks.

Talking about the charges, Sadon Blah said the discussion was on whether both governments can reconsider withdrawing the charges before the peace process finally moves on.

The HNLC is a militant organisation operating in Meghalaya. It claims to represent the Khasi-Jaintia tribal people, and its aim is to free Meghalaya from the alleged domination of outsiders. It was proscribed on 16 November 2000, but the ban was later lifted. It was banned again in 2019. The HNLC primarily operates in the Khasi Hills region and has carried out a number of terror activities in Shillong.

Some of its camps were located in Bangladesh, mostly in the Chittagong Hill Tracts with the top HNLC leadership being based in Dhaka.

The Meghalaya government and the state police have accused HNLC of being involved in a number of illegal activities including killing, abduction, robbery, arms smuggling, cattle smuggling and extortion in the Jaintia Hills coal belt. It has also been accused of circulating fake currency in the state, supported by the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) of Pakistan.

HNLC has claimed that it has tried to help the Khasi people and to make society better. It launched Operation Kyllang (hurricane) to publicly punish rapists by torturing them and claimed to have reduced crime in the Khasi Hills.

Also Read: Meghalaya: HNLC optimistic about peaceful solution after tripartite talks in June

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