Shillong, Aug 29 (IANS): Meghalaya Home Minister HDR Lyngdoh today ruled out talks with the separatist Hynniewtrep National Liberation Council (HNLC) on the issue of "sovereignty". "We are all Indians. There is no question of compromising India's sovereignty. Therefore, holding talks with HNLC on the sovereignty issue is out of the question," the minister told IANS.
"Our doors are always open for unconditional talks (if they give up) violence and lay down arms," he said.
HNLC general secretary Cheristerfield Thangkhiew, who is reportedly in Bangladesh for over two decades, has said his outfit was ready to come to the negotiating table.
Meghalaya shares a 443-km border with Bangladesh, part of it porous, hilly and unfenced, and prone to frequent infiltration.
Thangkhiew vowed to continue HNLC's armed struggle if the government ignored the offer.
Earlier, the Civil Society Women's Organisation (CSWO) - an influential women's group in Meghalaya - urged the state government to accept HNLC's offer of talks.
"The government should take the opportunity to initiate talks between the central government and HNLC," CSWO chairperson Agnes Kharshiing said. "Solutions should be thrashed out across the table and not through arms," she said.
The tribal Khasi militant outfit is closely linked to the National Democratic Front of Bodoland (NDFB), the United Liberation Front of Asom and the National Liberation Front of Tripura.
Another outfit, the A'chik National Volunteers Council (ANVC), fighting for the creation of Garoland Territorial Council in Meghalaya's Garo Hills region, entered into a tripartite ceasefire with the central and the state governments July 23, 2004.