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Role of the Church in Conflict Resolution in Meghalaya, 2002-2003

The Shillong Khasi-Jaintia Church Leaders' Forum (SKJCLF) has been recognized by the Meghalaya Government as its official negotiator with the proscribed outfit Hynniewtrep National Liberation Council (HNLC) and has been making efforts to bring the outfit to the negotiating table. Presented below are highlights of the role of the SKJCLF and the Church in the process of conflict resolution in Meghalaya:




January 20

The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) chief K. S Sudershan in a speech in Guwahati accuses the Church in North East, especially the Baptist Church, of providing arms and other logistic support to insurgent outfits in the region.

January 21

Senior church leaders of Meghalaya challenge the RSS chief’s allegation and ask him to provide evidence with regard to the claims.

January 22

The Khasi Jaintia Church Leaders’ Forum (KJCLF) urges Meghalaya Government to initiate talks with the Hynniewtrep National Liberation Council (HNLC) and Achik National Volunteer Council (ANVC).

February 23

KJCLF appeals to the State Government to announce a cease-fire with the terrorists and create a conducive atmosphere for a peace process.

March 21

KJCLF leaders meet Chief Minister F.A. Khonglam, Home Minister Lotsing A. Sangma and other senior officials in Shillong:

The forum proposes:

  1. The State Government should declare KJCLF as the official negotiator;
  2. Announce a cease-fire to create conditions for dialogue and safe passage for the terrorists; and
  3. Spell out a concrete rehabilitation plan for terrorists eschewing violence.

April 21

KJCLF President Purely Lyngdoh informs the media of the State Government’s acceptance of the forum as the official negotiator.

May 22

Meghalaya Government decides to seek the help of Church leaders of Garo Hills to bring ANVC to the negotiating table.

May 24

KJCLF President Purely Lyngdoh states in Shillong that his organization would persuade HNLC to come to the negotiating table despite the latter’s claim that it would never surrender before the Government.

May 28

The Garo Baptist Church (A’chik Baptist Dalgipa Kaina-ABDK) welcomes the State Government’s move to initiate talks with the ANVC though mediation by the Church elders and senior citizens of Tura. 

August 21

In a statement issued to a section of the press in Shillong, HNLC ‘Chairman’ Julius K. Dorphlang refuses to be a party to the peace process initiated by the KJCLF and says that “the church body has not contributed anything to the save the society from the increasing social menace in the state.”

August 22

The KJCLF President Purely Lyngdoh expresses unhappiness about HNLC’s allegations and states that “it is not correct to say that the Church has not done anything.”

November 26

KJCLF renews its appeal to the HNLC to come to the negotiating table. The Forum criticizes the Government for not taking the peace process seriously.



January 10

The KJCLF President Bishop Purely Lyngdoh urges the Government and the HNLC to hold unconditional talks for a lasting solution to the problem of insurgency in Meghalaya.

March 27

KJCLF chairman expresses the willingness of the Church for a face-to-face meeting with the HNLC to discuss the peace issue and appeals to the outfit to reconsider its stand and come to the negotiating table with the Government.

April 14

Meghalaya Chief Minister D D Lapang rules out the induction of the army to fight militancy in the State calls upon the Church to preach against insurgency.

June 6

Meghalaya Government declares that except for KJCLF no other organization or individual has consulted the State Government for acting as facilitators with the terrorist outfits.

June 11

Priest of Cathedral Parish of Laitumkhrah, Father Hilarius Lamare, refutes charges that a receipt of Rs. 10,000 signed by him was recovered from four arrested HNLC cadres.

June 24

Meghalaya Home Minister R G Lyngdoh informs the State Legislative Assembly that the KJCLF has been authorized by the Government to facilitate talks with the terrorist groups in the State.

July 6

The RSS during its Kanyakumari conclave accuses the Church and Christian missionaries in the Northeast of having a nexus with the terrorists in Arunachal Pradesh, Tripura and Meghalaya.

July 16

Meghalaya Chief Minister, in a meeting with KJCLF, states the Government’s readiness to allow the Church leaders to go to a foreign country if situation so warrants to talk to the militants.

July 30

Home Minister R G Lyngdoh accepts the offer of the Garo Baptist Church (GBC) as the negotiator with the ANVC.

September 29

ANVC chief Jerome Momin, in a press release, turns down the offer for talks with the GBC following the September 26 incident, where eight ANVC cadres were killed by the police in Tura.

October 1

Archbishop of Shillong, Dominic Jala, refutes allegations of Church-militant nexus as ‘baseless’ and attributes the cause of militancy to unemployment.

October 29

GBC President Grover C Marak states that the ANVC is still positive about negotiations in spite of its anti-talks public posture. 






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