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Bodos for Accord-based settlement

Kokrajhar, Sept. 4: Several Bodo organisations today asserted that rehabilitation of the riot-displaced should be done on the basis of the Assam Accord after a government communiqué remained silent on the issue.

Led by Bodo Sahitya Sabha, over 13 organisations said they stood firm on their demand that rehabilitation of the displaced people be effected on the basis of the cut-off date and year for detection of foreigners — March 24, 1971 — as enshrined in the Assam Accord of 1985.

The organisations’ announcement came after secretary to government of Assam, home and political departments, G.D. Tripathi, sent a letter to deputy commissioners of Kokrajhar, Chirang, Dhubri and Bongaigaon districts stating that only genuinely-displaced Indian citizens should be rehabilitated by verifying and ascertaining whether they were actually displaced from their respective homes in the Bodoland Territorial Areas District (BTAD) during the riot.

The letter, dated August 27, does not mention any specific date or year as base year or the kind of documents to be considered for rehabilitation.

At a joint news conference in Kokrajhar, Bodo Sahitya Sabha president Kameshwar Brahma, said: “We welcome the rehabilitation of genuine citizens but on the basis of Assam Accord, 1985.”

They also demanded that the verification of land records should be complete and in accordance with the provisions of Chapter X of the Assam Land and Revenue Regulation Act, 1886. “Documents such as ration card and BPL card should not be considered for determination of citizenship,” Brahma said. The organisations also advocated constituting vigilance committees with representatives of the state government, BTC and members from civil societies for screening and monitoring the ongoing process of rehabilitation.

“The screening committees should also be formed under the revenue circles,” Brahma said. He added that unauthorised occupation of khas land, grazing-reserved land, forest land, roadsides, riverine forest be thoroughly verified and no rehabilitation should be allowed in these areas in the BTAD.

They said Fakiragram police station case (number 61/12 of July 22 under Sections 47/48/149/302/326 of the IPC) should be handed over to the CBI as it involved an incident that led to the violence and arsoning in Paroura village.

Two elderly women were killed and an elderly man was seriously injured on July 21 in this village. Seeking creation of a congenial atmosphere, the organisations cried for a halt to indiscriminate arrests of innocent people while demanding the release of those already under detention, besides compensation for reconstruction of houses to those whose dwellings were completely burnt or damaged.

The organisations will submit memoranda to group of ministers (GoM) chairman Prithivi Majhi, chief minister Tarun Gogoi and BTC chief Hagrama Mohilary on their various demands.

The second sitting of the GoM and BTC leaders will be held on Thursday. On the first sitting on August 29, it discussed ways to chalk out means to rehabilitate the displaced people.

Inspector-general of police, BTAD, S.N. Singh, told the media today the situation was by and large normal. “I cannot say hundred per cent but the situation is peaceful and people can go back to their villages. Arrangement has been made for the security of the people, including fixed pickets in the villages,” he said.