Assam: Bodo outfits to restart statehood movement
GUWAHATI: Slamming the attitude of the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government at the Centre, the All-Bodo Students' Union (ABSU) and several other Bodo civil society organisations have decided to revive their movement for a separate state on August 30.
ABSU President Promod Boro said on Thursday that a five-hour blockade of the national highways (NH) will be organised across the state on August 30 to press for their demand for creation of a separate state.
"During the previous Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government's time, four rounds of talks were held to discuss the issue. However, nothing was done to fulfill our demand. Before the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, the BJP assured us to fulfil our demands. The BJP also included the assurance in their election manifesto. However, once the BJP formed the government at the Centre, they have forgotten their assurance," said Boro, adding that this has left the organisations with no option but to revive their movement for a separate state.
"After the BJP formed the government at the Centre, we have met Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh at least seven times and Union Minister of State for Home Kiren Rijiju at least 10 times requesting them to take up the problems of the Bodos. It seems that the government is only interested in delaying matter and avoiding the legitimate demand of the Bodos," he said.
"We have also met Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal several times and reminded him about the assurance of the BJP before the polls. However, nothing has happened so far. We fail to understand what the government wants. We have been raising our demand in a peaceful way but it seems the government has ear only for violence," he said.
When the 2014 protests of the organisations in Karbi Anglong turned violent, the government had called them for talks. However, nothing happened to their demand also, said Boro.
General Secretary of the pro-talk faction of the National Democratic Front of Bodoland (NDFB) Gobinda Basumatary also condemned the attitude of the Central government.
"We came overground in 2004 and the process of peace talks started in 2009. At least 25 rounds of formal and informal talks have been held with the government of India since then but in none of the talks the main issues or demands have been discussed," Basumatary said.
He said the Central government had not been sincere enough to pay the monthly honorarium to the 1,150 NDFB cadres who came overground in 2004 as part of the peace initiative and restricted themselves to the designated camps.
The ABSU, the NDFB pro-talk faction and a conglomeration of several organisations in Bodoland, Peoples' Joint Action Committee for Bodoland Movement (PJACBM) are not spearheading the separate state movement for the Bodos in Assam.