Centre to sign peace accord with two Meghalaya rebel outfits

The Centre will sign a peace accord with two rebel outfits operating in the five districts of Garo Hills in Meghalaya next week, a union home ministry official said Wednesday.

Shillong: The Centre will sign a peace accord with two rebel outfits operating in the five districts of Garo Hills in Meghalaya next week, a union home ministry official said Wednesday.

"A peace pact between the Centre, Meghalaya government and the two Garo rebel groups - A'chik National Volunteers Council and its breakaway group A'chik National Volunteers Council (ANVC-B) will be signed Sep 24 in New Delhi," Shambhu Singh, joint secretary (northeast) in the home ministry, told IANS.

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 creation of a separate Garoland state to an autonomous council.

Welcoming the Centre's announcement to sign the peace pact with the two tribal Garo rebel outfits, Chief Minister Mukul Sangma who also held meetings with the ANVC leaders in Shillong, said "Conducive atmosphere will prevail in the Garo Hills once the peace accord is signed."

Meanwhile, the ANVC is hopeful that the final signing of peace accord would ensure lasting peace in the conflict-ridden Garo Hills.