Several Bodo organizations took out a mass rally in Udalguri, Assam demanding the creation of a separate state for Bodoland. They threatened to organize a grassroots protest over the matter and take it to the national capital in days to come if the issue is not resolved in a time-bound manner along the lines of Jammu & Kashmir and Telangana.
The protest rally, organised jointly by the All Bodo Student Union (ABSU), the National Democratic Front of Bodoland (Progressive), the People Joint Action Committee For Bodoland Movement (PJACBM), was supported by several other Bodo organisations as well. It began at Bodofa Park and culminated at the Udalguri-Nalbari playground. Over 30,000 people are reported to have attended the rally.
“It is obvious that the Bharatiya Janata Party has sufficient majority in both the Houses to create new states/ union territories. However, the present exercise gives an impression to the common man that only if there is terrorism and violence, there is a compulsion to create new states/union territories, and if they are so created, it sends a wrong signal and could encourage violence in parts where small states are being demanded,” said a press release issued jointly by Pramod Boro, president of ABSU, Rakesh Boro, chief coordinator of PJACBM and Gobinda Basumatary, president of NDFB (P) on the 23rd of September at Udalguri.
“The Bodoland movement organizations believe that the manner in which the Ministry of Law and Justice has issued the notification invoking powers under Article 370 (1) of the Constitution, indicates that the Union Government has a political will that surmounts all obstacles to its aim and vision. We call upon the government to exercise the same political will and urgency in dealing with the other long-pending statehood demands like Bodoland,” the leaders said further.
“Bodoland demand is one of the oldest demands in the country. The Bodo movement has experienced a bloody chapter by losing more than 5,000 innocent lives and not less than 20,000 Bodo people have been jailed in the 50 years of Bodoland movement. But the irony of the fact is that despite having all justification and criteria, the demand has not been conceded by the successive governments so far, which is not only injustice but also strong disregard to the spirit of Articles 2 and 3 of the Constitution of India,” they added.
Bodo dominant areas in eastern Assam had seen massive protests demanding a separate state for the Bodo community in the 90s. The movement led by ABSU had later turned violence turn with the rise of two militant organisations, NDFB (National Democratic Front of Boroland) and BLTF (Bodo Liberation Tigers Force).
The agitations had come down after formation of Bodoland Territorial Area Districts (BTAD) in 2003, comprising four Bodo dominated districts on north bank of Brahmaputra in the eastern Assam. The BTAD is governed by Bodoland Territorial Council (BTC), an autonomous district council for the Bodoland region. The Bodo insurgency had also came down, with BLTF surrendering and joining the mainstream. NDFB was split and while one of its factions is still engaged in insurgency, the other faction has surrendered and its cadres are currently living in designated camps.