Bodo accord 2020: The central government, Assam government and Bodo representatives on Monday signed a Bodo accord to fulfill the groups’ key political and economic demands. The accord was signed in the presence of Home Minister Amit Shah, Assam Chief Minister Sarbanand Sonowal and four factions of the banned insurgent group National Democratic Front of Bodoland (NDFB). The NDFB factions were led by Ranjan Daimari, Govinda Basumatary, Dhiren Boro and B Saoraigra. Joint Secretary in the Home Ministry Satyendra Garg and Assam Chief Secretary Kumar Sanjay Krishna were also present on the occasion.
"Today Centre, Assam government and Bodo representatives have signed an important agreement. This agreement will ensure a golden future for Assam and for the Bodo people. 1550 cadres along with 130 weapons will surrender on January 30. As the Home Minister, I want to assure all representatives that all promises will be fulfilled in a time-bound manner," Amit Shah said.
"All stakeholders of Bodo society has signed this agreement, reaffirming the territorial integrity of Assam," state Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said in Delhi.
Government officials told PTI that the Home minister wanted peace to return to Bodo-dominated areas in Assam and therefore was keen to conclude the accord as early as possible to end the Bodo insurgency. The pact provides political rights, some economic package to the Bodo tribals living in Assam. Besides, the government has assured the Bodo groups to safeguard the Bodo language and culture and related matters.
Also, a commission will be set up to take views of the people in Assam in providing some specific political rights to the Bodos.
This is the third Bodo accord signed in the last 27 years. Earlier, the violent movement for a separate state had claimed hundreds of lives and caused damages to public and private properties in Assam.
The first Bodo accord was signed with the All Bodo Students Union (ABSU) in 1993. The second pact was signed in 2003 with the militant group Bodo Liberation Tigers (BLT).
Meanwhile, Leader of Opposition in Assam Legislative Assembly, Debabrata Saikia has written a letter to CM Sonowal asking whether consent was sought from Bodo groups. He said that since 2001, over 30 non-Bodo groups have been demanding that no pact should be signed without consulting them. They are already unhappy for including many non-Bodo majority areas in the existing Bodoland Territorial Area Districts. Reacting to reports that the state was considering the demands of some groups to create a Union Territorial Council by carving out some existing districts of Assam, Saikia said a large number of non-Bodo people also reside in these areas.
However, the MHA officials told PTI that the territorial integrity of Assam will be maintained and the key demand of the NDFB, which is either a separate state or a UT, is not going to be entertained.