Shillong: The central government has directed Meghalaya not to hold talks with the outlawed Garo National Liberation Army (GNLA), a rebel outfit fighting for a separate Garoland state, Chief Minister Mukul Sangma said Thursday.
“They (central government) have formally indicated to us that we should not continue to pursue talks with the GNLA since they (GNLA) are continuing with their criminal activities,” Sangma told journalists.
The Garo outfit, which was declared a terrorist organisation, had expressed a desire to hold peace talks with the government but on one condition – the release of its chairman Champion Sangma, who is currently in a Shillong jail.
“They (GNLA) were given an opportunity (to hold talks) but they missed it and are continuing to indulge in criminal activities and killing of women and children,” he said.
Sangma said the only hope for the GNLA is to give up its armed struggle and stop its violent activities to create a favourable environment for talks.
GNLA rebels, who number around 100, have unleashed terror in five impoverished districts of Garo Hills in the last five years and killed over 100 people, including security personnel.