Denied of a Separate Homeland, Bodo Leaders to Intensify Boroland Movement

By M. Mochahari

People’s Joint Action Committee for Boroland Movement (PJACBM), rechristened as People’s Democratic Movement for Bodoland (PDMB), has decided to hold three-hour sit in programme at Dispur Last Gate on July 18 to pressurize the governments of India and Assam to restart dialogue on Bodoland state issue. Simultaneously, influential All Bodo Students’ Union (ABSU) has called upon the Central and State government to find amicable solution Bodo political aspirations, which has been going on for over five decades.

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In a press statement, the joint secretary of the PDMB, Bathou Raja Basumatary said that most of the political leaders, either of the State or Delhi, were not aware of the fact that the aspiration of the Bodo indigenous people of Assam to have a separate homeland did not grow only from PTCA’s movement for Udayachal in 1967 but from 1930s, when few Bodo delegations met with the Simon Commission in Shillong demanding for a separate political administrtaton…

Basumatary said that since 1967 the Bodo and other indigenous people of Assam were collectively working on a continuous movement demanding a separate state of Bodoland in the north bank of the Brahmaputra River from the Sankosh in the west to Sadiya in the east along the foot-hills of Bhutan and Arunachal Pradesh, carved out of Assam. Almost half a century has passed with the cycle of movements on experimental basis of intermediary arrangements which could not address the fundamental question and the dream of Bodoland State has remained unfulfilled.

The joint secretary said in the post-Independence period, the first State Reorganization Commission (SRC) recommended for new States in 1956, as per which some States were created in India. But the SRC could not reach to any opinion regarding reorganization of States of north-eastern region. Thus, the region remained excluded from the first process of the State reorganization. But with the creation of Nagaland state in 1963, the process of reorganization of Assam was set in motion on the basis of claims and demands. On January 13, 1967 Indira Gandhi, the then Prime Minister of India, announced a policy to reorganize Assam on federal basis before the Mizo Union in New Delhi. A Bodo students’ body named as Goalpara District Bodo Students’ Union (GDBSU) was the first to welcome her announcement and instantly demanded a separate state for the plains tribal people of Assam. Since then the demand for a Separate State for the tribal people living in the plain area of Assam and a subsequent movement for the purpose still continues.

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ABSU delegates led by Promod Boro met Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal on 10 July 2016

The tribal people of different ethnic groups joined their hands together to assert their constitutional rights with vigorous movement and made a long journey to achieve their ultimate goal. The aspiration for homeland for the Bodo and other indigenous people of Assam is older than that of Telangana and official articulation for Bodoland state is as old as that of any other demand for statehood in other parts of India. But the demand of the plains tribal people of Assam has not only been ignored but also been deliberately sidelined all these years, he said.

“Unfortunately instead of finding an amicable settlement of the decades-old Bodoland issue, we have been experiencing conspiracies one after another being hatched out against the peace loving people of ethnic Bodo groups in Assam on the pretext of keeping integrity and co-existence that appeared to be giving them unity and equal rights within one peripheral boundary but in reality divided them in cultural traits which is against the natural rights of each and every community,” said Basumatary.

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Press Meet held at Guwahati for New State demand in India, by National Federation for New States (Northeast Chapter). Upcoming movement programs with deadline to central government up to 15 August, 2016, thereafter mass gathering at Guwahati and 1st week of Sept. Indefinite Hunger strike by allied movement organizations.

He said in the past decades it was observed that the experimental piecemeal solution to the demand for Bodoland could not actually address the 86-year old aspiration of the Bodos and other indigenous people of Assam for which it remains a never ending process till now. “Today the issue of Bodoland state has become the centre of the attention for the entire nation which demands a concrete policy and therefore, People’s Democratic Movement for Bodoland (PDMB) would like to appeal to the present BJP government in New Delhi and Dispur to take this opportunity to work for an amicable solution to end this long-pending issue involving all the stakeholders of the Bodoland Movement including ceasefire groups of NDFB, PDMB, ABSU and all other civil societies concerned since both the Centre and State is ruled by BJP,” he said.

In order to remind the Centre and the State on the Bodoland issue, the PDMB has decided to hold a three-hour peaceful sit and strike programme at Dispur Last Gate on July 18 and submit memoranda to the Prime Minister, Union Home Minister and President of India.

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