Mizoram govt, rebel outfit agree on terms of peace pact
HPC (D) is the only active rebel outfit in the state and the deal could bring lasting peace in the region.india Updated: Mar 09, 2018 11:30 IST
Nearly one-and-a-half years after talks began, the Mizoram government and rebel outfit Hmar People’s Convention-Democracy (HPC-D) have reached an agreement on the terms of a peace pact.
“After two days of political level talks between representatives of Mizoram government and HPC(D) delegates, a consensus has been reached on the terms of a peace deal,” said a press statement released on Thursday in Aizawl.
The exact terms and conditions of the agreement and the date on which the peace accord would be signed are not yet available. Once inked, the accord is expected to bring lasting peace and address the demands of the Hmar tribe.
The only active rebel outfit in Mizoram, HPC(D) — an offshoot of the Hmar People’s Convention — has been demanding more autonomy to Sinlung Hills Development Council (SHDC) — constituted in 1994.
The Mizoram government’s delegation was led by legislator Lalrinmawia Ralte, who is also the adviser of chief minister Lalthanhawla, while the HPC(D) was led by the outfit’s working chairman L T Hmar.
“The talks were held in a very positive and cordial atmosphere. We are hopeful that the accord would be signed this year itself and help bring lasting peace to Mizoram,” Ralte said.
Both sides said that SHDC would be dissolved to create Sinlung Hills Council. The new body, akin to autonomous district council but with lesser powers, will have 14 members (2 nominated by state government) and is expected to have greater autonomy.
Reports say the peace pact will be signed after the Mizoram government tables and passes a bill in state assembly for creation of the Sinlung Hills Council (SHC).
A faction of HPC(D) led by founder president Lalhmingthang Sanate is opposed to the creation of SHC as they are demanding an autonomous district council. Sanate was arrested by Assam Police last month.
Disappointed with contents of the Mizo Peace Accord signed in 1986, which didn’t address the creation of a Greater Mizoram comprising Hmar inhabited areas in Mizoram, Assam and Manipur, the HPC came into existence the same year.
The outfit signed a memorandum of settlement with the Mizoram government in 1994 to establish SHDC and laid down arms. But unhappy with the implementation of the deal, a section of the outfit took up arms again a year later and formed the HPC(D).
The Mizoram government and HPC(D) have been engaged in official talks since August 2016. Besides more autonomy to SHDC, the outfit wants proper rehabilitation package for its cadres after they give up arms.
Between 1992 and 2018, insurgency-related incidents claimed the lives of 49 civilians, security personnel and insurgents in Mizoram. No killings have taken place in the past two years.
As per the 2011 census, the Hmar population in Mizoram is 29,587. Most of them are concentrated in the north and northeast part of the state. The total population of the state is 10.91 lakh.