Hynniewtrep National Liberation Council (HNLC)
The Hynniewtrep National Liberation Council (HNLC) is a product of a 1992 split in the Hynniewtrep Achik Liberation Council (HALC), the first militant tribal outfit in Meghalaya. The HALC split due to inter-tribal antagonisms leading to the formation of the HNLC and the Achik Matgrik Liberation Army (AMLA). In the erstwhile HALC, the Hynniewtreps (Khasis, who trace their origin to seven celestial families) represented the Khasi and Jaintia tribes and the Achiks represented the Garos in the common fight against the Dkhars or ‘outsiders’. The HNLC was proscribed on November 16, 2000.
An important objective of the HNLC is to transform Meghalaya as a province exclusively for the Khasi tribe and free it from ‘domination’ by the Garo tribe. Another objective is to fight against the presence of 'outsiders', as the HNLC feels that Khasi youth are deprived of the fruits of development in the state.
Julius K Dorphang is the ‘Chairman’ of the HNLC. Cheristerfield Thangkhiew functions as its ‘General Secretary’. Among the other leaders are ‘Publicity Secretary’ M. Diengdoh, ‘Commander-in-chief’ Bobby Marwein. The HNLC ‘Operations group’ consists of Khraw Bian, Shining Star Synkhli, Shynshar Nongbri, Bantei Kharkongor, Raju Blah and Kynteilang Kharkongor. The top leadership of the outfit is based in the Bangladeshi capital Dhaka. Some of HNLC's camps too are located in that country, mostly in the Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT) region.
Chairman Julius Dorphang surrendered to the government on July 24, 2007. This surrender was reportedly a result of the internal differences within the organsiation. A group of HNLC cadres was also sent by the outfit's leadership in Bangladesh to eliminate Dorphang. An October 30, 2007 encounter in a locality in Shillong led to the killing of five cadres of the group.
Area of Operation
The HNLC primarily operates in the Khasi Hills of Meghalaya. A number of its activities has been reported from the capital city of Shillong.
The HNLC is closely linked with the National Socialist Council of Nagaland – Issak Muivah (NSCN-IM). HNLC's nexus with the Tripura based National Liberation Front of Tripura (NLFT) was revealed with the December 17, 2007 neutralisation of a joint HNLC-NLFT camp in the Narpuh reserve forest in the Jaintia Hills district. Accoridng to Meghalaya police souces, both the outfits have been found to be engaged in extortion in the Jaintia Hills coal belt.
The HNLC also has a front organisation called the HSDF (Hynniewtrep State Democratic Front), whose ‘Commander-in-Chief’ Dominic Kharpuli and three other cadres were arrested on October 20, 2001. HNLC promotes the circulation of fake currency in the State, at the behest of Inter Services Intelligence (ISI), Pakistan's external intelligence agency.
Source:Compiled from news reports and are provisional.