Bodos warn of rail-road blockades, hunger strikes

New Delhi, Dec 13 (IANS) Members of the Bodo community from Assam on Tuesday warned the central government of road and rail blockades and hunger strikes for indefinite period if the tribal community’s demand for a new state of Bodoland is not fulfilled.

Over 5,000 Bodos are assembled in the national capital for a three-day long agitation, and said the demand for a separate Bodoland was a “political problem”, and the central government’s attitude towards the tribe should change.

They said the problem would not get resolved till the central government creates Bodoland — a promise made by the Bharatiya Janata Party during the campaigning for the 2014 Lok Sabha elections to seek the Bodos’ support.

“Now, the government has started rejecting all those reasons for creating new states just to deny many aspirants for new state,” said a memorandum submitted to the Prime Minister’s Office.

“The present NDA government is seen to be trying to befool the people” by offering economic development as an option to solve political problem, the memorandum said.

Stating that the Bodo people are being subjected to socio-economic exploitation, suppression, oppression and political domination, the memorandum stated there is a threat of total extinction to the community.

“Even after 70 years of India’s independence, the state has failed to protect, preserve and safeguard the land, identity, language and culture of the Bodo people. Bodo people are very much part of the great Indian community and are loyal to the Constitution of India.”

“The Bodo people want to live with dignity and honour under the provision of the Constitution of India. For that purpose, the Bodo people launched their movement for socio-political rights in 1967,” said the memorandum.

The Bodo community also demanded that the Prime Minister should ensure political rights of the Bodos living outside the proposed Bodoland area.

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

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

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

–IANS

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