From Our Correspondent
Guwahati: The restive days of 1980s and 1990s are threatening to be back in Assam’s Bodo tribe dominated areas with the community reviving its hitherto dormant but long-standing movement for a separate statehood.
Over 50,000 people of the tribe hold a massive rally at North Assam tea town Dekiajuli demanding statehood and warned that in case the UPA government gave consent to Telangana statehood, Bodoland must also be created.
The rally held under the aegis of the influential All Bodo Students’ Union (ABSU) blocked the arterial National Highway 52 in this tea town of North Assam for about four hours.
The ABSU has warned of unrelenting and intensive democratic movement till a separate Bodoland state is granted. The Bodo tribe claims to have a population of about 20 lakh along the entire North bank of Brahmaputra River in Assam and demands a separate state on being the single largest ethnic group inhabiting that particular stretch of Assam. “Though the Union government granted autonomy to the community in 2003 in the form of Bodoland Territorial Council (BTC) as per the Bodo Peace Accord signed with now disbanded militant outfit Bodo Liberation Tiger (BLT), the community has been disillusioned over failure of the council trigger of all round development at the desired pace as its doesn’t have sufficient power for the purpose,” ABSU president Promode Bodo said.
Addressing the rally , the ABSU president said, “Our demand for statehood dates back to 1987 and we are closely watching what decision the UPA government takes after Diwali about Telangana statehood demand as promised by Sonia Gandhi.
If creation of a Telangana state is approved by the Centre, there is no reason for not granting separate state to Bodo tribe in Assam. There will be no rest if no Bodoland. We are prepared for a prolonged phase of peaceful mass movement.” The people came to rally in big groups holding placards shouting ‘no Bodoland no rest’, ‘Divide Assam 50-50’ etc. The ABSU leader told the people, “The UPA government should start dialogue for Bodoland and warned that any isolated decision on creation of a new state in any part of the country will not be tolerated unless Bodos too are granted a separate state.”
“The Centre has taken the Telangana stir more seriously when the agitation out there paralysed the region for a spell of more than 25 days.
The ABSU will be compelled to resort to non-violent movement and call for even 1000 hour bandh if the Union government continues to ignore Bodo statehood demand.
The Government of India created three new states in 2000 and if Telangana is created, why not Bodoland,” the ABSU leader said.