Influential All Bodo Students’ Union (ABSU) on 26 July 2015 submitted its reminder copy comprising the long-pending political and non-political demands to Assam Governor, P B Acharya. The demand includes full protection of Constitutional Rights of the indigenous Bodo community, who continue to witness negligence from the state successive government and other state apparatus.
In the memorandum, the president of ABSU, Promod Boro and general secretary Lawrence Islary said the ABSU had been demanding for the rights of the oppressed people since its inception through various democratic movement and programmes. However, the demand for a separate homeland for Northeast’s largest Bodo community remains outside the ambit of Indian Constitution. Under Article 2 and 3 of the Constitution, a new federal state can be created by simple two-third majority of Parliament. Ironically, such beautiful provisions of the constitution have not been explored to address the political demands of the Bodos, although more many states have been created in the last one decade.
The Union leaers said the Bodos had been struggling for the creation of separate State since the year 1967 but the problem of statehood had been being denied systematically. In the long 47 years, none of the successive governments could evolve out any durable policy decision to bring about permanent settlement of the problem but only in 2003, the then NDA government under the leadership of Atal Behari Vajpayee granted the sixth scheduled administration to the Bodo tribe in plains of Assam in the form of present Bodoland Territorial Council (BTC). What is even more unfornate is that the Central government, influding the state, have been attempting to crush the movement through ruthless use of security forces by blankely imposing the draconian law – Armed Forces Special Power Act (AFSPA).
They said that though the Sixth Schedule was interpreted as sub-political autonomy, it actually did not enjoy any political autonomy but only some administrative autonomy in the form of development agency. Having viewed and experienced all such circumstances, the demand for Bodoland had been left with no alternative.
Boro said in 2014 general election the BJP had promulgated in their manifesto to support creation of smaller States in India considering the legitimate demand of Bodoland. Accordingly, the Bodos supported the BJP in the election. The ABSU urged the Governor to intervene in the issue with the Government of India for creation of separate State of Bodoland, which was possible under Article 2 & 3 of the constitution of India.
The ABSU demanded the creation of separate Bodoland state, setting up of central university, separate directorate for Bodo medium and other tribal languages, to introduce Bodo departments in the Central Universities in Assam University, Silchar and Tezpur University, recommendation for the upgardation of CIT, Kokrajhar as Central University, to introduce APSC exam centres in the district of Chirang, Baksa and Udalguri and UPSC exam centres at all the district head quarters of Assam and to introduce the UGC NET/SLET Exam centre at Bodoland University, Kokrajhar for the lower Assam region.
The ST students studying in different educational institutions of Assam from the elementary, secondary and higher education were facing irregularity and many even cannot avail pre-matric and post-matric scholarship of the Government of India. This has been happening as a systematic denial and discrimination to the tribal people from such opportunities of the Government of India. So, the student body also demanded to introduce Bodo Major to all colleges of Assam, to appoint staff for Bodo subject in all Kendrya Vidyalaya and Novadaya Vidyalaya, setting up AIIMS in BTC region, physical and Fine-Arts/Classical instructors’ appointment in all educational institutions from elementary to higher education, to open new teachers’ training institute for the Bodo medium teachers as like that of the existing District Institute of Education and Training (DIET) for teachers in all districts of Assam where Bodo Medium schools exist, appointment of ST and SC special drive 9,000 TET qualified teachers, regularization of all TET teachers qualified in BTC and publication and distribution of pictorial Bodo books in pre-primary level (ICDS).
Other important demands are introducing Information and Broadcasting facilities such as AIR and DD centres in Kokrajhar with full Bodo language broadcasting facility, sports complex and aAcademy in the BTC region for all round development of the entire sports event and encourage sports talent in all fields, establishment of SAI study centre in Udalguri, protection and preservation of greater Manash from Sonkash to Bhairab Kunda for wildlife protection and to maintain World Heritage site, removal of Rajiv Gandhi nomenclature from Orang National Park, fund allocation and implementation of WPT department should be reviewed and ensure the time bound sanction, to check and ensure free illegal taxation in Srirampur Gate entry border with rest of India to Northeast and to intervene with the Government of India to launch an express train with the Bodo name Aronai Express. [The Sentinel, 27 July 2015]