Lapang asks HNLC leaders to surrender honourably
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Last Updated: Saturday, December 05, 2009, 18:10
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 Tripura (NLFT).

Another militant group of Meghalaya, Achik National Volunteer Council, entered into a ceasefire in 2004 and has been engaged in a peace process.


First Published: Saturday, December 05, 2009, 18:10

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