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AIZAWL | Apr 13 : Over 100 cadres of Hmar People’s Convention (Democratic) faction led by H. Zosangbera today laid down their arms in Mizoram following the peace accord signed with the State Government of Mizoram on April 2.
The “arms laying down or home coming ceremony” was held at Central Training Institute (CTI) in Mizoram Home Guard headquarters at Sesawng village, 39 km northeast of Aizawl. The event was graced by Chief Minister Lal Thanhawla and State Home minister R. Lalzirliana.
Altogether 102 HPC (D) cadres and 12 leaders (council members) including the group chairman H.Zosangbera laid down their arms before the State government of Mizoram.
The Hmar rebels laid down 44 different weapons, mostly sophisticated ones, including 4 sniper rifles, 9 AK assault rifles, 1 M 16 carbine assault rifles and 13 double barreled guns. They also brough along 2,892 rounds of ammunition, grenade, launcher shells and 5 radio sets. State Home minister R. Lalzirliana received the weapons from the HPC-D cadres.
Meanwhile, State Home R. Lalzirliana handed over Rs.3.42 crore rehabilitation package to the HPC-D working chairman LT Hmar.
Speaking on the occasion, Chief Minister Lal Thanhawla appreciated the Hmar rebels for coming overground to lead “normal life”. He said the decision of Hmar militants to shun violence by laying down arms would usher peace in the State.
According to Lal Thanhawla, Mizoram has had witnessed 20 years long insurgency during the Mizo Independent movement which had severely affected the State economically. He also said that the people living in northeastern part of the sSate had faced unrest for several years due to the insurgency movement launched by the Hmar militants. “The ultimate decision of HPC(D) militants to come overground by shunning violence has manifested their real desire for restoring peace in the State especially in the Hmar dominated northeast Mizoram,” the Chief Minister said.
Citing that the government is keen on solving the Hmar political problem, Lal Thanhawla said the government would take effort to give utmost care to the Hmar people. He also lauded the efforts made by both the State government officials and the HPC (D) leadership in bringing peace in the State.
Mizoram Home minister R. Lalzirliana, while welcoming and appreciating the HPC(D) cadres for coming overground and laying down sophisticated weapons, said the decision of the militants has clearly indicated their willingness to work for the development of the State. He, however, warned other faction led by founding president of HPC (D) Lalhmingthang Sanate that the government would not ignore if they resort to violence and create disturbance in the State.
HPC (D) Deputy Commander-in-chief Lalbieknunga said that they were excited to resume normal life.
The cadres will head for Sakawrdai village, the proposed headquarters of Sinlung Hills Council (SHC) on Saturday after which they will depart for their respective villages.
The “home coming ceremony” was attended by several officials and Hmar leaders from different parts of the northeast region.
It may be recalled here that, on April 2 the Mizoram government and Hmar People’s Convention (Democratic) signed a historic peace accord to end the three decades old Hmar political imbroglio in Mizoram. The signing of the Memorandum of Settlement (MoS) was held at 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.
As per the provisions of the MoS, the existing Sinlung Hills Development Council (SHDC) would be rechristened as Sinlung Hills Council (SHC) by an act of state legislature. It will be accorded administrative autonomy within the framework agreed upon by both the parties, in the sphere of socio-economic, political and cultural development of the people under the jurisdiction of the SHC. The SHC shall consist of 14 members including 2 nominated members to be headed by Chief Executive Member (CEM). It will initially function as interim for six months.
However, the accord also envisaged that the MoS, which was signed between the Mizoram government and erstwhile HPC in 1994 would stand superseded.~IFP