| George Boro: Peacemaker?
Guwahati, Dec. 27: Two top militants of the anti-talks faction of the NDFB have sent feelers for talks in the wake of Dispur’s intensified efforts to bring the rebel group to the negotiating table before the Assembly polls.
The outfit’s vice-president, Rajen Goyari alias G. Rifikhang, and the commander of Boroland Army (the armed wing of NDFB) I.K. Songbijit, as well as some other senior members of the faction have sent feelers to the government for negotiation, a highly placed source said.
That the anti-talks NDFB has expressed willingness to sit for talks was also confirmed by chief minister Tarun Gogoi on the sidelines of the release of his official biography here today.
The source said, “They have conveyed their willingness to enter into negotiations to the top brass of Assam police through intermediaries and a breakthrough is expected within the next couple of months.” The arrested deputy commander-in-chief of the outfit, George Boro, is playing an important role in bringing its other members to the negotiation table, he added.
“Even before his arrest, George was in touch with the government through some channels and was preparing the ground for holding peace talks,” the source said. “Rifikhang, George and Sonbijit took control of the anti-talks faction following the arrest of Ranjan Daimary in May this year. If they sit for talks, then it will be a very positive development,” he added.
Daimary has reportedly told CBI officials during interrogation that he was interested in holding talks. “George is likely to discuss with Ranjan Daimary how to take the talks forward,” the source said.
However, the anti-talks faction is unwilling to sit for talks with the pro-talks faction, headed by Dhiren Boro and Gobinda Basumatary, the source said. The NDFB had split into two after the serial blasts on October 30, 2008.
“They want to hold negotiations separately and are likely to place the demand for a separate state for Bodos,” the source said.
According to him, the government has almost convinced the anti-talks faction to drop its demand for sovereignty and its leaders are likely to press for statehood during talks. “So far, we are moving in the right direction and if everything goes well, they will drop the demand for sovereignty and sit for talks on statehood,” the source said.
“If the process for initiating talks makes some progress, then nitty-gritties like setting up designated camps for the cadres of the anti-talks faction will be worked out,” he added.
He said the Bodo National Conference was also trying to start negotiations between the government and the anti-talks faction to usher in peace in the Bodo belt. The BNC is an umbrella organisation of the Bodos, which was formed at the Bodo National Convention in Kokrajhar last month. It aims to provide a common platform for all Bodo organisations to fight for their common causes, including the demand for Bodoland state. Daimary’s sister, Anjali, who heads the Boro Women’s Justice Forum, is a member of the convening committee of the BNC.
The source said the effort to bring the anti-talks faction to the negotiation table also had the support of the Hagrama Mohilary-led Bodoland Peoples Front. “If every thing goes according to plan, we hope to see the first round of talks with the faction before Assembly elections in the state next year,” he added.