New Delhi, January 27, 2020:
The Central Government today inked the “Bodo Peace Accord” with the leaders of the four factions of the National Democratic Front of Bodoland (NDFB), thereby concluding the decade-long statehood movement with an aim of ending the conflict in the insurgency-torn region.
After much negotiation, the Bodo Peace Accord has brought about a slew of changes in the functioning of the region, safeguarding the rights of the Bodos and rehabilitating the militants who have decided to surrender and usher in a new phase of life.
One of the major announcement from today’s agreement is that the Bodoland Territorial Autonomous District or BTAD will now be called Bodoland Territorial Region or BTR. The Accord states “Inclusion of villages close to BTAD and having majority tribal population, as demanded by Bodo organizations. It also states “Exclusion of villages currently under BTAD which are contiguous to non-Sixth Schedule areas and have majority non-tribal population.”
This means that villages with more tribal population would come under BTR and the ones with more non-tribal population would be out of the purview of BTR.
There will be a maximum of 60 seats in the constituencies of Bodoland Territorial Council. A commission will be formed to examine and recommend the provisions of the Accord. This will have representatives of Assam state government and other stakeholders, including All Bodo Students’ Union (ABSU) and BTC.
More legislative, executive, administrative and financial powers to BTC will be initiated within three months. The Principal Secretary of BTC will also have monitoring powers of Registration Department within BTR.
A special Bodo-Kachari Welfare Council will be formed to focus on the development of Bodo villages outside BTR in the lines of other existing Councils for Plains Tribes. It will also identify specific developmental needs of the Bodo villages.
In the line of protecting the language and promoting the Bodo culture, the Assam government will recognize the Bodo language in Devanagri script as an associate official language. It will also establish a separate Directorate for Bodo medium schools in the State and adopt measures to appoint lecturers in Bodo departments in colleges outside BTAD.
Another significant step is the establishment of a cultural complex-cum-centre of Excellence in the name of Bodofa Upendranath Brahma at Kokrajhar district’s Thulunghapuri. A special legislation will be implemented to safeguard land rights of Scheduled Tribes living outside tribal belts and blocks outside BTR.
It may be mentioned here that Union Home Minister Amit Shah, Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal, Assam Finance Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma, NDFB Ranjan Daimari, Govinda Basumatary, Dhiren Boro and B Saoraigra were present during the signing of the Bodo Accord on Monday.
Amit Shah has also announced that a new DIG post will be created for the Bodoland Territorial Autonomous District, in addition to the existing post of IG. A Joint Monitoring Committee shall also be formed with the representatives from the Ministry of Home Affairs, Assam government, BTC and Bodo organizations to monitor the implementation of the Memorandum of Settlement.
Calling the NDFB leaders “friends”, Amit Shah said that the cadres will surrender on January 30.
A compensation of five lakh rupees will be provided to the families of the people who died during the Bodo Andolan, informed Shah.
The Bodo Peace Accord is viewed as an important step towards the development of the Bodo-dominated areas in Assam.
Support Inside Northeast (InsideNE), an independent media platform that focuses on Citizen-centric stories from Northeast India that are surprising, inspiring, cinematic and emotionally relevant.