Aizawl, Feb 5 (IANS) The Mizoram government has signed a suspension of operations (SoO) agreement with the separatist outfit Hmar People's Convention-Democrats (HPC-D) for six months, an official said here Tuesday.
"The government officials and the leaders of the HPC-D signed the SoO last week in Aizawl and decided that the agreement would be effective for six months. The SoO could be extended if both sides agree," a Mizoram home department official told reporters.
"According to the pact, the HPC-D cadres would be allowed free movement anywhere in the state, without firearms and explosives.
"It was also decided that Mizoram police and paramilitary troopers would not launch any operation against the members of the outfit unless they defy SoO terms and conditions," the official said.
As per the deal, the HPC-D militants would not be allowed to indulge in illegal and violent activities in the state, including extortion and intimidation.
They would also not be permitted to do anything to prevent people from exercising their franchise.
"A seven-member joint committee comprising members from both sides led by superintendent of police (special branch) to monitor the execution of the SoO has also been formed," the official added.
Earlier, a similar SoO was signed between the Mizoram government and the outlawed outfit on Nov 11, 2010 in Aizawl, but the peace efforts fizzled out.
Based in Manipur, the HPC-D is a militant outfit operating mainly in Mizoram and neighbouring Manipur. It is an offshoot of the Hmar People's Convention, following discontent with the 1992 peace agreement.
The HPC-D has been demanding a separate Hmar Autonomous District Council comprising Hmar tribal-inhabited areas in the north and north-eastern parts of Mizoram.
The Hmar tribals live mostly in the mountains of south Manipur, parts of Mizoram, southern Assam and parts of Meghalaya and Tripura, besides the Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT) of southeast Bangladesh.
In 1987, the Hmars launched an insurgent movement, and signed a ceasefire agreement with the government in 1992. Around 375 cadres of the outfit surrendered that year in Aizawl.
A combined team of Delhi and Mizoram Police had arrested HPC-D self-styled Chairman H. Sangbera from Indira Gandhi International Airport in New Delhi in July last year.
Several of the outfit leaders were also arrested from Assam and different places of the northeastern region.