Centre to sign comprehensive peace pact with all Bodo groups
KOKRAJHAR/GUWAHATI, Jan 17: Finally, the dreaded militant group National Democratic Front of Boroland (NDFB-S) led by its president B. Saoraigwra has come to the negotiating table by signing an agreement for suspension of operation with Centre and the state government in the national capital on Thursday night.
According to the agreement, the NDFB will abjure violence and join in peace talks with the government. “Towards bringing a healthy peace and integration in the region, the government of India, government of Assam and NDFB entered into a tripartite SOO agreement on January 16,” the agreement said.
Assam DGP Bhaskar Jyoti said in Guwahati that the government has suspended operations against the outfit soon after signing of the agreement.
The faction has 27 other cadres, who have been kept at a location which cannot be disclosed, Mahanta said. Two prominent members of the outfit B Bidai, the NDFB “c-in-c” and B Batha have not returned with this group of NDFB cadres, the DGP said.
“We appeal to them to also return to the mainstream and participate in the peace process,” Mahanta added.
The tripartite agreement was signed by Ashutosh Agnihotri, commissioner & secretary (home & political department), government of Assam; Satyendra Garg, Union joint secretary (Northeast), ministry of home affairs (MHA), government of India and B. Saoraigwra, president, NDFB(S).
The agreement signing event was also witnessed of NDFB-S general secretary BR Ferrenga, finance secretary B Dwmwilu and two mediators Rajkumar Prithviraj Narayan Dev Mech and Thulunga Basumatary.
Rajkumar Prithviraj Narayan Dev Mech and Thulunga Basumatary are from Northeast Heritage Foundation (NHF), a social organisation.
Active members of the NDFB including Saoraigwra were brought back from Myanmar on January 11. Top leaders including Saoraigwra, its ‘general secretary’, ‘commander-in-chief’ and ‘finance secretary’ were part of the group. The group carried 25 weapons, more than 50 magazines, more than 900 assorted ammunition and communication equipment with them.
Four family members also accompanied the group. Saoraigwra’s group was active in Myanmar along with other Northeast insurgent groups. They had formed a joint platform namely United National Liberation Front of Western South East Asia along with NSCN-K and ULFA-I headed by Paresh Baruah.
The NDFB (S) cadres were given a free-passage through the Mon district in Nagaland. They are now housed in an Army base in Lower Assam. The Saoraigwra faction is the third group of NDFB to initiate peace talks with New Delhi.
Earlier in 2005, the NDFB (Progressive) faction signed a ceasefire agreement with New Delhi. Over 3,000 members of NDFB (P) are currently housed in three government-approved designated ceasefire camps in Udalguri, Baksa, and Kokrajhar districts of Assam.
This was the only active Bodo insurgent group operating in Assam with the demand for a separate “Boroland”. The demand for a separate Boroland has been in going on in Assam for about five decades with several Bodo overground and militant groups raising it, leading agitations, protests and violence that resulted in many deaths.
Agreements were signed in 1993 and 2003 to resolve the vexed issue. A Bodo Territorial Council (BTC) under Sixth Schedule of the Constitution of India was created in 2003 to meet political, developmental and identity-related aspirations of the Bodos. However, the demand for Boroland continued despite opposition by non-Bodo groups in the state.