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Has NDFB (S) leader Batha returned to the jungles?

KOKRAJHAR: Former National Democratic Front of Bodoland (NDFB) leader Batha — who came back to Assam in January of 2020, around 25 years after he went underground — might have returned to the jungles, highly-placed sources said.

“Although we cannot say for certain where he has gone, the rumour mills are abuzz with reports that he has returned to the underground,” the source told Inside Northeast under the condition of anonymity.

Batha, who was a senior leader of the NDFB (S), returned overground in January of 2020 ahead of the signing of the third Bodo treaty. Batha alias M Biban alias Binod Mushahary alias Gojo returned with G Bidai, the much-feared army chief of the proscribed outfit.

The tripartite agreement signed between the State, the Centre, and Bodo stakeholders was the third Bodo accord to be signed in the last 27 years as a means to usher in peace after the violent movement for a separate Bodoland state had claimed hundreds of lives.

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Meanwhile, Bodoland Territorial Council (BTC) chief Promod Boro has expressed his “dismay” at the reports of the ultras returning to the ‘underground’ in the wake of the elections in the Council.

“This is unfortunate news. If anybody is returning to the jungle, they should think twice. No developmental activities can be undertaken from the jungles. Development can only be done by staying in the mainstream and working for the well being of society,” Boro said on the sidelines of a programme in Kokrajhar.

Taking a swipe at the rival Bodoland People’s Front (BPF), the new CEM hinted that the party might be behind the entire episode. “Even though the government is planning to rehabilitate these militants, there are some people who like that kind of work (militancy) only. It is clear who is behind this phenomenon. Some elements are attempting to destabilize society.”

The UPPL supremo also hinted that the return of cadres to the underground post-signing of the Bodoland Territorial Region (BTR) treaty might be an attempt to “disrupt the peace” ahead of the Assembly elections in the state by “nefarious elements.”

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