‘Ignored’ Bodos to intensify statehood agitation
New Delhi, Dec 12 (IANS) The Bodo community of the northeast said on Monday it will intensify the agitation to press for its demand for a separate state, as the BJP-led central and Assam governments continue to ignore their cause.
As part of the agitation, over 5,000 people from the Bodo community on Monday began their three-day ‘dharna’ or sit-in at Jantar-Mantar in the capital city. They are also planning a march from Rajghat to Parliament Street on Tuesday.
“The BJP promised in its election manifesto that it would resolve the Bodo problem immediately if it could come to power at the Centre. It’s now two-and-half years. But, there is no initiative to fulfil this promise,” said Pramod Bodo, President of the All Bodo Students Union (ABSU).
Pramod said the government has stopped even the dialogue process, which apparently means it is not willing to resolve the problem. “So, we will go for mass hunger strikes and indefinite road and rail blockades.”
The agitation is being organised jointly by the ABSU, the pro-dialogue militant group National Democratic Front of Bodoland (P) and the People’s Joint Action Committee for Bodoland Movement (PJACBM).
“The Bodo people will never put up with the historical injustice meted out to them by the ruling cliques of Assam since the inception of administration after the Independence of the country,” said Pramod.
The community leaders, who ran from pillar to post seeking attention of the government, now say that having seen the dubious role of the Narendra Modi-led Bharatiya Janata Party government for two-and-half years, the Bodos could resort to extreme measures.
Even in October 2016, the Bodo community had organised rail blockade at one of the main rail corridors connecting the northeast with the rest of India, leading to a huge economic loss to the India Railways.
Gobinda Basumatary, General Secretary of NDFB(P), said: “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.”
“They 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.”
The demand for Bodoland started in 1967. The struggle became an armed conflict after the formation of the Bodo Security Force, a militant group later rechristened NDFB.
Currently, two factions of the NDFB — NDFB (P) led by Gobinda Basumatary, and NDFB led by Ranjan Daimary — are holding peace talks with the Centre, 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 district, which also left 20 injured.