The Meghalaya government on Wednesday renewed its call for a peaceful dialogue with the banned Hynniewtrep National Liberation Council (HNLC) even as the ceasefire agreement with the A'chik National Volunteers Council (ANVC) was extended for three months.
"Our (government) stand is to welcome any group for dialogue. We are always prepared to resolve their grievances through dialogue," Meghalaya Chief Secretary W.M.S. Pariat said.
Pariat's offer of olive-branch to the tribal Khasi separatist outfit came during his announcement of the tripartite ceasefire agreement with the outlawed ANVC.
The ANVC is a powerful rebel group which operates in Meghalaya's Garo Hills region.
"The government doors are always open for dialogue. But as long as they (HNLC) are not in the negotiating table, the government is free to take whatever necessary action," Pariat told IANS.
The HNLC, which carries hit-and-run operations from its hideouts in Bangladesh, has been demanding a sovereign Hynniewtrep homeland in eastern Meghalaya.
The outfit is closely linked to the National Democratic Front of Bodoland as well as the Isak-Muivah faction of the National Socialist Council of Nagaland and the National Liberation Front of Tripura.
HNLC leaders - Cheristerfield Thangkhiew and Bobby Marwein, the operational head of the armed wing of the outfit - have been hiding in Bangladesh for over two decades.