New Delhi/Shillong: The central and Meghalaya governments Wednesday signed a peace agreement with the two factions of the A'chik National Volunteers Council (ANVC), a Garo rebel outfit.
Home Minister Rajnath Singh and Meghalaya Chief Minister Mukul Sangma were present when the memorandum of settlement (MoS) was inked in New Delhi, under which the ANVC factions will dissolve their outfits within three months.
Former Mizoram chief minister Zoramthanga, Meghalaya Home Minister Roshan Warjri, Union Minister of State for Home Affairs, Kiren Rijiju also witnessed the signing of the peace accord.
The ANVC, once a powerful rebel group in the Garo Hills, has been in a tripartite ceasefire agreement with the central and the state government since July 2004.
The group has scaled down its demand for a separate Garoland state to an autonomous council.
The agreement came after many rounds of talks.
It has been agreed to have enhanced autonomy for the existing Garo Hills Autonomous District Council and also provide a special package for speedier socio-economic and educational development of the area, besides withdrawal of cases related to non-heinous crimes registered against members of the ANVC.
Rajnath Singh said the agreement will change the face of the Garo Hills region in all spheres in the years to come.
He said the central government has always shown its willingness to enter into a dialogue with any group that is willing to leave the path of violence and place its demands within the framework of the Constitution.
The home minister also urged all rebel groups to give up violence and come forward to find a peaceful solution to all their problems.