12-hour NH blockade on May 2
KOKRAJHAR, April 26: The All Bodo Students’ Union (ABSU), NDFB (Progressive) and People’s Joint Action Committee for Boroland Movement (PJACBM) on Thursday slammed the BJP-led Union and State governments and observed April 26 as ‘Betrayal Day’ in seven districts of Assam for their failure to give a positive response towards the solution of the Bodoland problem.
The Betrayal Day was observed at Kokrajhar, Chirang, Baksa, Udalguri, Sonitpur, Lakhimpur and Karbi Anglong by the student body where several hundreds supporters in each district staged three-hour sit-in with black badges and shaved heads as a mark of anger.
Addressing the gathering, the president of the ABSU, Promod Boro said the student body gave April 26 as deadline for a response from the government for initiating solution of the Bodoland problem but the BJP government at the Centre and the State had no time to listen to their demand. He said the Government of India held tripartite talks with the ABSU and its revolutionary groups on April 26 in New Delhi over the Bodoland imbroglio where Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh was also present. But after a year, the Government of India was mum on the solution to the Bodoland issue and as a protest, the student body had been compelled to resume its democratic movement, he said. He lamented that the BJP government promised the Bodos to solve the Bodoland problem if it came to power but in these four years, the Government of India led by the BJP had done nothing in this regard and this proved its betrayal.
Boro said there was no question of seeking Bodoland state if the ruling class people of the State had maintained equality and delivered equal justice, rights and privileges but they had dominated the indigenous people like Bodos and exploited them, which was still going on. He said the ruling class of people opposed the split of other States in the Northeast but seven sister States were created due to the impartial attitude of the successive government of Assam. He said Meghalaya had sustained in all spheres and Mizoram had become advanced with cent per cent literacy rate. If these States had remained a part of Assam, they would not have seen progress. He further said the Bodos had been demanding new state under the constitutional provision of India for decades and it was the oldest struggling group in India. They would not stop struggling till the Bodoland state was created.
The president of the ABSU said the State Government had been responding only to the ULFA but had been systematically ignoring the issue of the NDFB. The government was keen to solve the problem of ULFA by claiming that it was united, although the Paresh Barua faction was still carrying on armed struggle for independent Assam.
“But in case of NDFB, the government says that the factions are not united to solve their problems,” he said, adding that the State Government was partially giving fast-track court to the jailed ULFA leaders and cadres but the same advantage was not given to the NDFB cadres, which was injustice. He said the NDFB (Progressive) had been in peace parleys with the Government of India since 2005 and other factions had also joined the peace process but the government was not giving due response to them.
The student leader said the BJP had betrayed the Bodo and other tribal people despite the promises in their manifesto before the 2014 general elections. He said the people of Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Uttarakhand and Telengana had also endorsed their support towards the creation of Bodoland state. He also warned that the ABSU and other struggling groups of the Bodos would strongly join the national movement for new states under the banner of Federation of New States in India (FNSI) and said there would be 12-hour national highway blockade in Assam on May 2.
The protest in Kokrajhar was also joined by former Rajya Sabha MP Urkhao Gwra Brahma and leaders of NDFB (P) and PJACBM. Similar programme was also held near the DC office in Chirang. Later, a memorandum was sent to Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh demanding the solution of Bodoland problem, ensuring political rights of the Bodos in and outside BTC and inclusion of Bodos of Karbi Anglong in ST (H) list.