The BTAD (Bodoland Territorial Areas District) was created on the basis of the slogan: “divide Assam 50:50”. But this was done without considering the ground realities: Bodos made up only a third of the total population and the BTAD included some areas where Bodos made up less than 50 per cent or zero per cent of the population.
Now, Bodos think they are the absolute owners of land, jobs, business and all other benefits, depriving non-Bodos of all rights. Non-Bodos were not consulted when the arbitrary decision was taken to placate a group of armed brigands to get temporary succour.
The NDFB, a rival militant group, is out to create trouble seeking any issues. Both the Ranjan and Hagrama factions of the NDFB have illegal arms, which they never surrendered. Every now and then they combine to kill non-Bodos.
Cases regarding the fact that areas where Bodos were in the minority were included in the BTAD are still pending in the high court. I have also appeared in these petitions. The petitioners are non-Bodos, namely Assamese, Bengalis and Muslims, all of who are equally deprived of all benefits and rights in Bodo areas.
Our intellectuals and the media have created a strange theory of khilonjia (indigenous). This theory is based on ignorance.
Human civilisation has developed/grown out of conflict among different ethnic/religious groups. This is an eternal truth. In case of Assam, history has been distorted. Kamarupa once included all of East Bengal and its southern boundary was the Bay of Bengal. So, the real khilonjias of Assam were these people who became followers of Sankardev-Madhabdev while others embraced Islam.
Other group of people — Tibeto-Burman’s — comprise the present tribal groups, Bodo, Karbi, Kuki and Nagas, who came down later from the foothills of the Himalayas and southern China. Ahoms came in 1228. Unfortunately, history was distorted by calling the latter groups khilonjias and the earlier groups immigrants/foreigners.
It is really unfortunate that there are people who, out of sheer jealously and frustration, are out to malign the stable and strong Congress government. Under the dynamic leadership of chief minister Tarun Gogoi — who has created history by forming the government consecutively for three times — Assam has been marching forward and showing remarkable progress in all sectors in spite of economic slowdown at the national level.
It is a known fact that chief minister Tarun Gogoi won despite contrary predictions by the media and even intellectuals. Now, it appears, there is a designed conspiracy to create chaos and worsen the law and order situation.
The big dams issue is another example. It was boosted and magnified without reason and sans any scientific basis. After the Rumi Nath incident, out of nothing there was communal tension and riots in the Barak Valley.
When that subsided the Guwahati girl molestation issue came up, which raised quite a fuss even in American newspapers.
Before this could subside, came the Sivasagar issue (the alleged molestation of a girl by an army jawan).
Not being satisfied with that they diverted their attention to the Bodo belt, which was already seething, firstly with the conflict among the Bodos themselves — Hargrama Mohilary versus Ranjan Daimary — and the Bodo-non-Bodo tussle going on from before.
This group of detractors and trouble mongers are behind all this chaos and the tirade against the government.
But, instead of succumbing to their pressure, I am sure Gogoi — a stout Ahom — will bring them down with a firm hand. It is unfortunate that two political parties — the BJP and AIUDF— are playing a dangerous game just to provoke unrest.
The trouble in the Bodo areas is over land and other government largesse, which the Bodos want for themselves by depriving the non-Bodos. This leads to tension and sometimes even leads to violence because there are young and aggressive elements in all the communities.
Let us come to the basic point: Assam, nay, India belongs to everyone living here for generations. It doesn’t matter whether they are Bodos, non-Bodos, Assamese (Koch Kalita-Rabha) Bengali, Hindus or Muslims. All are the children of mother Assam. One-third Bodos cannot drive out two-third non-Bodos.
Similarly, the non-Bodo majority must also know that they cannot drive out the Bodos. There must be compromise and understanding. With this basic truth let us all sit together and solve this problem keeping in mind that we must live here in future and there is no other place to go.
The AGP, BJP and AIUDF must stop politicising the issue. They are playing with fire. I appeal to them to sit together and help the government solve the problem and bring permanent peace.