Centre to finalise pact with Bodo groups shortly ** ST status to Bodos living in KA, Dima Hasao to be part of talks agenda
GUWAHATI, Jan 24: The Centre is all set to sign a final agreement with the All Bodo Students Union (ABSU) and four factions of National Democratic Front of Boroland (NDFB) in New Delhi soon, official sources informed here Friday evening.
As a goodwill gesture, founder of chairman of NDFB Ranjan Daimary alias DR Nabla was granted four-week interim bail by Gauhati High Court to take part in the peace talks to be held in the national capital from Saturday.
A division bench of the Gauhati High Court comprising Justice Mir Alfaz Ali and Justice S. Hukato Swu granted the bail to the militant leader following a bail petition move by his lawyer Manas Kumar Sarania.
The bail may be extended later considering the situation and circumstances, Sarania said.
Daimary, who was convicted in October 30, 2008 serial blast case, will be flown to New Delhi on Saturday to take part in the peace talk. Leaders of the four factions of NDFB, including NDFB-P chairman Govinda Basumatary and ABSU president Promod Boro are camping in the national capital to take part in the final round of talks.
“We are here to discuss the long standing demands of the Boro people with the Centre. We are going to sign a final pact with the Centre soon,” ABSU president Boro told The Hills Times over phone from New Delhi.
“Right now we cannot say about the clauses of the accord. But we have demanded the Union and state government for more autonomy and more financial power to Bodoland Territorial Council so that we could be self reliant without depending upon the state,” Boro said.
“I welcome the officials of government of India and government of Assam for their initiative to ink the pact. We want the arms struggle in BTAD to be put to an end through this agreement,” he said.
The ABSU president, however, rejected the idea of forming a Union Territorial Council (UTC) in BTAD and said, “I do not know how this nomenclature has come out. This nomenclature has been given by those who do not want peace in BTAD,” he said.
The ABSU has been demanding a separate Boroland state under Article 2 and 3 of the Constitution of India. But this time the student body will agree with any arrangement or structure where they will be given maximum constitutional right and autonomy.
“We have been deprived by the state. So we will agree with any structure or arrangement where we will be given maximum constitutional right,” Boro added.
The ABSU president also said they never demanded inner line permit for BTAD. Even as there is no official confirmation, sources here said that the Centre will finalise the agreement within the next week. i.e. after the Republic day celebrations.
The issues like direct central funding to the BTC and granting ST (Hills) status to Bodos living in Karbi Anglong and Dima Hasao will also be focused in the proposed agreement. There are possibilities of more villages to be included into the Council, sources added.
The BTC was formed in February 2003 following an agreement with former militant leaders of Bodoland Liberation Tiger (BLT).
Earlier, the Centre had formed Bodoland Autonomous Council (BAC) after signing an agreement with the leaders of Bodo agitation in 1994. The BTC has 46 executive members each looking after a specific area of control called somisthi.
The area under the BTC jurisdiction is officially called the Bodoland Territorial Area Districts (BTAD).
The BTAD consists of four contiguous districts – Kokrajhar, Baksa, Udalguri and Chirang – carved out of seven existing districts – Kokrajhar, Bongaigaon, Barpeta, Nalbari, Kamrup, Darrang and Sonitpur – an area of 8,822 km² (11% of Assam land area i.e 78,438 km² ) comprising various protected tribal belts and blocks in Assam. Its establishment was under the amended Sixth Schedule of the Constitution of India.