Bodoland Territorial Autonomous Districts (BTAD), which once used to regularly feature in the news for conflict and violence, is an autonomous district under the jurisdiction of Bodoland Territorial Council (BTC) comprising four districts viz., Baksa, Chirang, Kokrajhar and Udalguri in Assam. It was created within Assam under the provision of the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution of India as an outcome of the agreement between the Govt. of India, the Govt. of Assam and the Bodo Liberation Tigers Force (BLT) on February 10, 2003. This creation despite vehement separate statehood demand brought peace in the troubled periphery which was once called the boiling belt. Following the period of relative peace this region is once again caught in the Boro and Oboro controversy which is politically motivated by narrow and corrosive minded people.
Several Oboro organisations such as Oboro Eikyo Mancha, Oboro Suraksha Samiti, BTAD Sena, etc. had mushroomed in Assam post the BTC formation. They raise voices against BTC administration because they feel that they have been denied their rights and privileges under the 15 year rule of Bodoland People’s Front (BPF)-led autonomous government. There have been serious apprehensions over the official language being used in day to day business and the benefits and privileges that ought to be enjoyed by the Oboro people in BTAD. They feel that Assamese language is at stake in these four districts of Assam because of not using it in Kokrajhar-the administrative headquarters of BTC. We need to ask ourselves that what official language is being used in Dispur and Kokrajhar. Is Assamese language used officially in all written communications in Dispur or Bodo language in Kokrajhar? All of us know that English language is used both in Dispur and Kokrajhar. The fact is that we, the Bodos too fear that Bodo language is not used as an official language even in BTC. In fact, the fear is more evident in entire Assam post the Citizenship (Amendment) Act 2019 scenario under which hitherto religiously persecuted illegal migrants would be granted citizenship that may adversely affect the language, culture, demographic profile, composition of electorate and the economic occupations in Bodoland. These kinds of perceived fear exist almost everywhere.
To raise voices against any government, they need not be Oboros. Even Assamese people can raise voices and pressurise the autonomous government. The argument that Oboro is a threat to the Assamese identity itself is illogical. Defining, ‘Who is an Assamese’ is already a difficult task due to the desperate attempt by different groups to be recognised as separate from composite Assamese society and asserts their own identity. Ahom, Chutiya, Koch Rajbanshis, Kalita, Nath Jogi, Moran, Muttock, etc. prefer today to be distinct groups who were once the core of Assamese society.
The existence of these Oboro organisations in Assam lack constitutional validity which directly or indirectly intends to breach the communal harmony. Naba Kumar Sarania-militant turned Member of Parliament (MP) from Kokrajhar Lok Sabha seat would only benefit from these Oboro organisations because he is successful in polarising Boro and Oboro votes which in fact helped him to win twice as an MP. He is instrumental in pushing in the divisive Boro-Oboro politics in BTC. He believes he is protecting the Assamese identity by Oboro politics. Practically he himself is posing a threat to the Assamese identity. Being an MP, his mandate is to focus on developmental works in his constituency. A public representative cannot divide the electorate on linguistic or religious lines. Why doesn’t the media ask him about the work he has done so far? The tragedy is that in the name of politics, Oboro is a well accepted nomenclature in print and electronic media in Assam today.
Gendra Galla Narzinary,
More shocking news from the Gulf
Shocking news keep pouring in from the Gulf region, the latest being the death of around 80 American soldiers in an Iranian retaliatory missile attack on US facilities in Iraq. In another tragic incident 56 people and more than 200 were injured in a stampede which broke out on Tuesday at the funereal of Iranian General Qassem Soleimani who was killed in a US air strike at the Baghdad airport. The stampede took place in Kerman, the hometown of Revolutionary Guard Major General Soleimani as the procession began. What had set off the stampede is not yet known to the outside world.
The funeral procession in Tehran on Monday drew over one million people crowding both main thoroughfares and side streets in Tehran. A similar stampede, though on a smaller scale, struck the 1989 funeral procession for Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini killing at least eight people and injuring hundreds. Soleimani’s death in a drone strike on Friday has sparked calls across Iran for revenge against America, drastically raising tensions across West Asia. Earlier, Hossein Salami, the new leader of Iran’s Revolutionary guard vowed to avenge Soleimani’s death as he addressed a crowd of supporters gathered round the coffin in a central square in Kerman. Salami said, “We tell our enemies that we will retaliate but if they take another action we will set ablaze the places that they like and are passionate about.” The crowd in response chanted “Death to Israel.” Israel is a long time regional foe of Iran.
According to a report on Tuesday by the semi-official Tasnim news agency, Iran has worked up 13 sets of plans to revenge Soleimani’s killing. The report quoted Ali Shamkhani, Secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council, as saying that even the weakest among them would be a historic nightmare for the US. However, he declined to elaborate.
Meanwhile, the US Air Force launched a drill with 52 fighter jets in Utah; just days after President Donald Trump threatened to hit 52 sites in Iran. Britain has come out condemning the attack on military bases in Iraq that hosted US-led coalition forces including British personnel. It has urged Iran not to repeat the reckless and dangerous attacks. Surely and slowly, the world will divide on this issue and it will not be good for Iran.
The most appalling thing about Iran right now is that there is a miasma of revenge lingering all across Iran following the killing of Soleimani by the US military. Every Iranian’s mind is injected with the poison of revenge. Religious leaders, high ranking officials, and even the daughter of the slain Soleimani vow revenge on America. The terms they use against America can have a devastating effect on the Iranian populace. This could upset their composure and lead people from being sane to insane. People will become prejudiced like the proverbial saying ‘everything looks yellow to a jaundiced eye.’ Revenge repels rational thought in man and in the revengeful mind there is nothing but revenge, which eventually kills the man who harbours it. So, Iran’s leaders must not be carried away by spite. Instead they should exhort their people to maintain calm and composure. Revenge is not a solution but destruction, and in the destruction nothing constructive is gained. Let us all hope for a change in Iran’s attitude as its role is pivotal in maintaining peace in the Gulf region and by extension in Asia.