India bans Meghalaya-based insurgent group HNLC

The Indian government has banned Meghalaya-based insurgent group Hynniewtrep National Liberation Council (HNLC) for its increased activities of violence and other subversive acts. The Indian Home Ministry said in a notification that the HNLC along with all its factions, wings and frontal outfits has been openly declaring as its objective the secession of the state's areas, which are largely inhabited by Khasi and Jaintia tribals, from the Indian Union.

The group “continues to intimidate and bully civilians to extort funds, maintains links with other insurgent groups of the Northeast to carry out acts of extortion and intimidation, and maintains camps in Bangladesh to give sanctuary and training to its cadre,” it said. The Indian government is also of the opinion that the HNLC's activities are detrimental to the sovereignty and integrity of India.

If these are not immediately curbed and controlled, the HNLC will regroup and rearm itself, expand its cadre base, procure sophisticated weapons, cause loss of lives of civilians and security forces, and accelerate its anti-national activities, the Home Ministry said.

"Now, therefore, in exercise of the powers conferred by sub-section (1) of section 3 of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967 (37 of 1967), (hereinafter referred to as the said Act), the central government hereby declares the HNLC, along with all its factions, wings and front organisations as unlawful association," the notification said.

The ministry also listed the violence perpetrated by the HNLC in the recent past that include four incidents involving killing of one civilian, from January 1, 2015, to July 31, 2019, arrest of 16 of its cadres, recovery of four weapons, surrender of 14 of its cadres and kidnapping of four persons. Earlier, the HNLC was declared a banned organization on November 16, 2000 but the ban was later lifted.