The outlawed Hynniewtrep National Liberation Council (HNLC) on Wednesday claimed that the two arrested volunteers of Art of Living were authorised by the Indian government to open peace parleys with it in Bangladesh. But Art of Living founder Sri Sri Ravi Shankar said his organisation has "never acted on behalf of government agencies".On Monday, Meghalaya Police arrested Khroo Lamsalanki Pariat and Samir Jolly from the Dawki police checkpost near the India-Bangladesh border when they were trying to meet HNLC rebel leaders in Bangladesh's Sylhet district.The HNLC is a secessionist group fighting for a sovereign Khasi homeland in the eastern part of Meghalaya. The outfit operates from its hideouts in Bangladesh.Meghalaya shares a 443-km border with Bangladesh, a part of which is porous, hilly and unfenced and prone to frequent infiltration."Pariat and Jolly were not authorised to hold parleys with an organisation banned under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act. Their motive to visit Bangladesh is suspect and merits further investigation," said Vivek Syiem, the district police chief of West Jaintia Hills.Ravi Shankar tweeted: "We have never acted on behalf of government agencies. Our efforts have always been purely on human grounds."In a series of tweets, the spiritual leader said: "Youths who have strayed into militancy need a healing touch.
They need assurance of justice and trust in peaceful coexistence. Art of Living volunteers have been helping youths shun violence and bring them to the mainstream by providing skills training and other means of livelihood."Describing the arrest of the two volunteers as "illegal", HNLC spokesperson Sainkupar Nongtraw said: "They were doing a good deed but the police have always impeded whenever efforts were made by the HNLC to come forward for peace talks."Nongtraw said Pariat and Jolly were not HNLC members but were persons of the central government from New Delhi. "They have been authorised to meet the HNLC leaders in order to move the peace parleys forward."He pointed out that the Congress government in New Delhi did not take any initiative even when the HNLC was ready for peace talks since 2004. Further, he claimed that the incumbent Meghalaya United Alliance-II government had sent some individuals in May to seek the HNLC's help in the upcoming 2018 Assembly polls.Nongtraw expressed his gratitude to the BJP government and to the Art of Living for their readiness to bring the HNLC to the negotiating table.