GUWAHATI: Mixed reactions have been evoked by Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma's announcement on Thursday that an additional 43 revenue villages and 17 forest villages will be included in the Bodoland Territorial Region (BTR).
Chief Executive Member (CEM) of the BTR Pramod Boro on Friday welcomed the Chief Minister's announcement and said, "The dream of the Father of Bodos, Bodofa Upendra Nath Brahma, is going to be fulfilled". He thanked the Chief Minister and said: "Your gifts to BTR in the form of the implementation of the clauses of the BTR Peace Accord".
Bodo added that defining the borders of BTR and the inclusion of 43 revenue villages and 17 forest villages in Dhekiajuli, Sootea, Biswanath, Behali and Gohpur LACs with over 80 per cent Bodo population, as per clauses of the Bodo pact, is a most welcome declaration by the Chief Minister.
Meanwhile, the 'O-Bodo Suraksha Manch', the Congress and some other organizations have vehemently opposed the inclusion of the additional villages in the BTR. According to the O-Bodo Suraksha Manch, as per this rationale, villages in the BTR with non-Bodo majority should also be excluded from the BTR. The Congress alleged that the government's move has created the apprehension of division and fraternal conflict in the BTR. The Congress said that there was a need to hold discussions with all stakeholders before making the announcement regarding the inclusion of additional villages in the BTR.
It may be mentioned that as part of the Bodo Peace Accord signed in January, 2020, the process to include 98 more villages into the BTR (Bodoland Territorial Region) from the adjacent districts was initiated recently at New Delhi and Dispur. The BTR pact has a clause for the inclusion of villages with substantial Bodo domination into the BTR and the exclusion of villages without Bodo domination from the BTR. The state government formed a commission for inclusion into and exclusion from the BTR through a ground-level study.
Sources here said recently that the proposed inclusion of around 50 of the 98 villages has no objections from the MLAs concerned. There are hiccups in the remaining 48 villages as a few legislators have expressed their concern over the move.
According to the sources, the Chief Minister discussed the issue recently with MHA (Ministry of Home Affairs) and IB (Intelligence Bureau) officials. BTR CEM Promod Boro also met Union Home Minister Amit Shah recently. He requested Shah to implement the clause for the inclusion of Bodo-dominated villages into the BTR, besides other clauses. And the issue gained momentum after Boro's plea to the Union Home Minister.