Ceasefire with Meghalaya rebel group extended

March 24th, 2010 - 12:50 am ICT by IANS  

P. Chidambaram Shillong, March 23 (IANS) The central government Tuesday extended the ceasefire with the outlawed Achik National Volunteers Council, a powerful rebel group in Meghalaya, by another three months till June 22.
The decision to extend the six-year-old tripartite truce between the central and Meghalaya governments and the ANVC was taken after intense negotiations.

“We have agreed in principle that the ceasefire will be extended for another three months from this day,” ANVC spokesman Arist Sangma told IANS after the joint monitoring group meeting in New Delhi.

The meeting was attended by Joint Secretary in Home Ministry (in-charge North East affairs) Naveen Verma, Meghalaya’s Principal Resident Commissioner A.K. Bhalla and ANVC general secretary Wanding K. Marak.

ANVC, a tribal Garo rebel group operating in Meghalaya’s Garo Hills region, is fighting for creation of Garoland Territorial Council. It had entered into a tripartite ceasefire with the central and the Meghalaya governments July 23, 2004.

The ceasefire was to expire on March 31.

Earlier, the Meghalaya government had asked the central government not to waste time and reach an “acceptable tripartite accord” with the ANVC for lasting peace in the Garo Hills.

Chief Minister D.D. Lapang had met Home Minister P. Chidambaram and impressed on him the need for extension of the ceasefire with the ANVC.

On March 16, the outfit held its first round of political dialogue with New Delhi’s pointsman and former Intelligence Bureau director Pradyot Chandra Haldar on their demand for creation of a Garoland Territorial Council in line of Bodoland Territorial Council in Assam.

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