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Meghalaya to consult centre on Garo peace talks

Posted on Mar 10 2014 | IANS

Shillong, March 10 : Meghalaya will consult the central government to initiate peace talks with the Garo National Liberation Army (GNLA) rebel outfit, state Home Minister Roshan Warjri said Monday.

"Since the GNLA was declared a terrorist organisation by the central government under the provisions of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967, it would be necessary for the state to consult the centre in the matter," Warjri told the state assembly.

The GNLA, headed by Champion R. Sangma, its jailed chairman, is fighting for a separate Garoland state to be carved out of Meghalaya in the five districts of Garo Hills.

Over 150 people, including security personnel, have been killed in the last five years by GNLA rebels and more than 50 businessmen and government officials were abducted.

Use of force may not be the only solution to deal with the rebels, Warjri said, adding that the state government is thinking of asking all outfits to come out for talks.

"An open offer was also made by Governor K.K.Paul to all the rebel outfits to shun the path of violence and engage in a dialogue with the government," the minister said.

The GNLA later issued a statement suggesting it was prepared for talks.

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