Shillong: Meghalaya Chief Minister DD Lapang on Saturday asked the leaders of the proscribed Hynniewtrep National Liberation Council (HNLC) to "surrender honourably", amid the crackdown on North-East militants by Bangladeshi security agencies.
"We appeal to the HNLC leadership to come overground and work with the government. We have sent a message to the top leaders to surrender honourably," Lapang told reporters.
Indicating that he was not averse to giving safe passage to militant leaders, he said, "The government has provision for surrendered cadres to ensure that they lead a good life in the mainstream.
"We have been repeatedly persuading the Government of
India to take up the issue with Bangladesh. Now with the
arrest of the ULFA leaders, Bangladesh is acting positively to
ensure that the militants do not take shelter or operate
training camps from that country," the Chief Minister said.
Since last month, Bangladesh has allegedly pushed back
ULFA chairman Arabinda Rajkhowa, four other top leaders of the
outfit and their families to Indian authorities.
HNLC, a Khasi rebel outfit which had never reciprocated
peace overtures from the government, is demanding declaration
of Meghalaya as a province exclusively for the Khasi tribe
free from outsiders.
Its chairman Julius Dorphang surrendered in 2007, but
its general secretary Cheristerfield Thangkhiew and
`commander-in-chief` Bobby Marwein are still at large and
believed to be in Bangladesh.
The HNLC is closely linked with the NSCN-IM of Nagaland
and with the Tripura-based National Liberation Front of
Another militant group of Meghalaya, Achik National
Volunteer Council, entered into a ceasefire in 2004 and has
been engaged in a peace process.