PDF welcomes peace talks offer by HNLC

Shillong Dec 5: After the HSPDP, another partner of the Meghalaya Democratic Alliance (MDA) government, the People’s Democratic Front (PDF) has welcome the offer of the Hynñiewtrep National Liberation Council (HNLC) to come to to the negotiating table with the government.

“From my side, and I hope from the party’s side too, we are happy that the HNLC has expressed its willingness to come forward for peace talks,” Urban Affairs minister, Hamletson Dohling told reporters.

Dohling who is the PDF legislator from Mylliem constituency, said that the matter would be taken up with the state government including chief minister and home minister as the state government needs to take the initiative to bring them to the negotiating table.

“The state government is like a mother and if they have expressed, we should welcome. We should discuss and accept the offer,” Dohling felt.

The Central government’s stand has been that militant outfits including the HNLC should shun violence and join the mainstream.

“It is not necessary that we listen to what the Centre is saying. We feel that when the HNLC has expressed its willingness for peace talks, we should take up the matter seriously. It is us the state government that should take up this matter with the Centre as they want peace talks, and this can be discussed. It is not necessary that the Centre should tell us what to do as it is our duty to bring them back to the mainstream. It is for the state government to highlight the same to the Centre,” Dohling said.

On conditions for peace talks, Dohling said that there may be conditions, “but this is a matter where we need to take a collective decision as the government.”

He said that there is a need to discuss how to move forward and only after the discussion it can be decided whether the talks should be unconditional or with conditions.

“What the Chief Minister was saying was what he felt that as per norms, any talks with militants will have conditions. But our state government is a responsible government so we will discuss to know what are the conditions so that we can take the peace talks forward. If we have to take up this matter in the cabinet, we will also discuss,” Dohling said.

He said that the offer came through an open letter from the HNLC.

“We are happy and HSPDP also is happy. We feel it is our duty to take up this matter with the state government. When they are offering, the state government should listen. Accept first the offer, and discuss about the conditions after we as government meet,” he said.

On allegation of brassiness, Dohling said, “that (biasness) happens during the previous government. Now in our time, this is the first offer that has come. We will take up the matter in the cabinet and also within the MDA.”