Mizoram to hold talks with separatists next month

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

AIZAWL - The Mizoram government will hold talks with the radical outfit Hmar People’s Convention-Democrats (HPC-D) next month, a senior official said here Tuesday.

A five-member HPC-D delegation, led by the head of its military wing Ropuia, met Mizoram Home Secretary Lalmalsawma and other officials last week, a senior home department official said.

“The Mizoram government recently announced suspension of operations against the outfit,” he added.

Earlier, Lalmalsawma said the talks would be unconditional.

The Mizoram government has set up a committee of police and civil administration officials, under the chairmanship of the home secretary, to conduct the talks.

HPC-D is a militant outfit operating mainly in Mizoram and neighbouring Manipur. It has been demanding a separate Hmar Autonomous District Council, comprising Hmar tribal-inhabited areas in the north and northeastern parts of the mountainous Mizoram.

The Hmar tribals live mostly in the hills of south Manipur, parts of Mizoram, southern Assam and parts of Meghalaya and Tripura, besides Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT) of southeast Bangladesh.

In 1987, the Hmars launched an insurgent movement, until a ceasefire was signed in 1992. Around 375 cadres of the outfit surrendered that year in Aizawl.

A radical section, led by Lalhmingthanga, split off from the movement after the ceasefire, calling itself the Hmar People’s Convention-Democrats. The group, involved in cases of kidnapping and extortion, has been active since 2003.

Filed under: Terrorism

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