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Mizoram govt and HPC (D) sign peace pack

Monday, April 2, 2018

/ Published by Simon L Infimate
April 2, Aizawl (UNI) The Mizoram government and the state’s only rebel group signed a peace settlement on Monday evening.

The ceremony, held in Aizawl at Mizoram State Guest House, brought an end to a 24-year-old conflict with the Hmar Peoples' Convention Democratic, or HPCD, whose autonomous district council demand insurgency stood in the way of insurgency free state of Mizoram.

“What we sign today is a declaration from the HPCD leaders before the people of Mizoram that they are ready to sacrifice their ideals for the sake of peace, and that they don’t accept violence as the means of defending their ideas,” Lalbiakzama, Mizoram Home Additional Secretary who has led the Mizoram team in all the peace talks held in the past 10 years.

The agreed seven points Memorandum of Settlement include giving administrative autonomy to the enhanced hills council within the framework of the memorandum, and that the surrendered cadres would be granted amnesty.

The HPCD's war against the government marked the last insurgency in Mizoram, it was a struggle that ignited after the HPC and the Mizoram government signed a peace treaty in 1994. The unhappy cadres took on their demand for an autonomous district council that triggered guerrilla movements in northern Mizoram for the past two decades.

H Zosangbera, Chairman of HPCD, despite suffering from cancer and gravely ill, signed the treaty on his organisation's behalf while Arvind Ray, Chief Secretary of Mizoram signed on the state's behalf. "Nowhere have we seen a political dialogue between a government and an armed group without defining a proper ground rules and suspension of operation, this peace accord is an evidence and testimony of our shared interest and oneness. I cannot help but say that we are stepping into a new chapter where we can aspire to envision a new future together," read a statement made by the HPCD chairman, who was too weak to deliver a speech.

"It is an emotional moment to see H Zosangabera being clutched to the venue; this is an epitome of a man who would do anything for peace,” said Lalrinmawia Ralte, Political Adviser of Chief Minister, who led the Mizoram delegations at the last round of talks with the HPCD.

“We just cannot give peace to anyone; peace can only be had between two willing parties. Now we may have agreed on certain resolutions, but a time will come when differences will arise, that is when two willing parties need to make an effort for peace to survive,” Lalrinmawia Ralte said.

According to the memorandum of settlement signed, the HPCD cadres will lay down their arms at a tentative date which is slated on April 4 & 5 at Mizoram Police’s Central Training Institute, Sesawng about 40 kilometres from Aizawl.

According to Lalbiakzama, Additional Home Secretary, as many as 48 arms including AK 47s, M16 rifles, 9mm pistols and several rounds of ammunition would be surrendered by the cadres of HPCD and that the cadres would number above a hundred.

Mizoram-HPCD truce inked
Henry L. Khojol

Aizawl: The Mizoram government and Hmar People's Convention (Democratic) on Monday signed a historic peace accord to end the over two- decade-old insurgency and three-decade-old deadlock on the Hmar political imbroglio in Mizoram.

The signing of the memorandum of settlement (MoS) was held at the State Guest House, Chaltlang, here in the presence of government officials and HPC (D) leaders.

The MoS was signed on behalf of the state government by chief secretary Arvind Ray, while the HPC (D) was represented by its president H. Zosangbera.

Before signing the peace accord, additional secretary in the home department Lalbiakzama said peace talks between the state government and the Hmar militants had began in 2010. The real talks to find an amicable solution to the Hmar problem began in August 2016 and ended with political level talks in March this year.

He expressed hope that the signing of the accord would bring long-lasting peace in Mizoram, especially its northeastern part.

Lalbiakzama appreciated the role of the HPC (D) in finally deciding to come overground. He said the HPC (D) would lay down 48 sophisticated arms during the homecoming ceremony, tentatively scheduled for April 12 at Central Training Institute, Sesawng, about 39km from here.

HPC (D) spokesperson Lalthalien, who spoke on behalf of H. Zosangbera, expressed happiness on the signing of peace accord, which according to him was a milestone not only for the Hmar people but the Mizos at large.

He thanked the state government for extending "parental concern and understanding to the plight and aspirations of the Hmar people".

He expressed hope that the Sinlung Hills Council would work towards ushering development.

The existing Sinlung Hills Development Council will be rechristened Sinlung Hills Council and comprise 14 members including two nominated members to be headed by the chief executive member.

Source: The Telegraph:
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