Bodos demand resumption of tripartite talks

Guwahati, Jan 9 (IANS) Several Bodo groups, including the All Bodo Students Union (ABSU), on Monday urged the government to start the tripartite political talks on Bodoland before the Parliament budget session, otherwise they would intensify the protest across north-east India.

The Bodo groups have also sought policy-level decisions on creation of Bodoland state with immediate effect.

The demands have come after Joint Secretary in the Home Ministry Satyendra Garg held talks with the Bodo groups here on their long-pending demand for statehood.

“Among the four demands, we have also sought that the government ensures political rights to Bodos living outside the proposed Bodoloand Area. Also, the need to invite all the revolutionary Bodo organisations for joint talks on the Bodoland issue,” ABSU President Pramod Bodo told IANS.

The meeting was held in the Special Branch office of the Assam Police and was also attended by senior Assam Police officials.

Four rounds of tripartite talks were held in the year 2013 and 2014 between the Assam and central Governments and Bodo groups when the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) was in power.

As part of the revival of the Bodoland demand, the Bodo groups staged a three-day dharna in December 2016 at Jantar Mantar in Delhi, and also blocked the major railway tracks in Bodo-dominated areas of Assam.

“The political demand would remain unresolved even if the armed struggle is resolved from the point of law and order situation, and recurrence of armed struggle will be likely one day or another. Therefore, the attitude of the central government in regard to the genesis of the armed struggle should change,” said Pramod.

The Bodos — Assam’s largest tribal community — currently have Bodo Territorial Area Districts (BTAD) comprising of Kokrajhar, Baksa, Udalguri and Chirang in Assam.

Currently, two factions of the National Democratic Front of Bodoland — led by Gobinda Basumatary, and Ranjan Daimary — are holding peace talks with the central government, while NDFB(S) led by Songibijit I.K. is opposed to any talks with the government under the constitutional framework.

The Songibijit faction was responsible for the killing of 14 civilians in an attack in Assam’s Kokrajhar in August last year, which also left 20 people injured.