The Meghalaya Government is at an advanced stage of negotiating peace talks with the United Achik Liberation Army based in the Garo Hills region, officials said on Thursday.

"We are at an advanced stage of negotiation with the militant group. However, nothing has been finalised as of now," a senior police officer told PTI on condition of anonymity.

"They (UALA leaders) have placed a lot of demands from the government including pardoning of pending criminal cases registered against them besides others," the official said.

According to the police, the group’s involvement in a lot of criminal activities in North and East Garo Hills could come as stumbling block in case the state government decides otherwise.

The UALA was a breakaway faction of the Achik National Volunteer Council (ANVC-B), which had signed a formal tripartite peace pact with the Union Government and the state government last year.

Led by Singbirth N Marak alias Norok, the UALA was a small outfit with a cadre strength of less than 80 and was formed in February 2013, three years after the Garo-Rabha conflict in December 2010 to January 2011.

According to police records, the UALA was involved in the Williamnagar prison attack in February 2013, killing the Assistant Jailor, Neil Nongkynrih and jail warden Sarai Singh Thabah.

The group registered another deadly attack in November that year when they shot dead seven people in remote Gendamari village under Agia Police Station in Assam’s Goalpara district, the police said.

A senior home department official, who was also privy to the negotiation at all stages, said the onus lies on the state government to decide on the demands of the group, but the rehabilitation packages would remain same as was released by the Union Government.