| Students of Bodoland University take out a rally in Kokrajhar on Friday. Picture by Preetam B. Choudhury |
Kokrajhar, Oct. 19: Students of Bodoland University here took out a rally today to press for their various demands, including detection and deportation of illegal migrants.
Over a hundred students with banners, festoons and placards started from the university gate, marched through the Debargaon-JD main road and returned to the campus, shouting slogans like “Bangladeshi hatao Bharat bachao, bideshi hatao BTC bachao (Remove Banglades-his, save Bharat, remove foreigners, save BTC)”, “No patta land no rehabilitation”, “No resettlement for illegal Bangladeshis”, “Protect tribal belts and blocks” and “Update NRC”, among others.
The students’ demanded detection and deportation of illegal migrants, protection of the rights of indigenous people and tribal belts and blocks, early update of the NRC, sealing of the Indo-Bangladesh border and restoration of peace and harmony in the state, among others.
The coordination committee of all Bodo organisations expressed dissatisfaction over the process of rehabilitation.
The committee’s chairman and Bodo Sahitya Sabha president Kameswar Brahma told reporters at RNB Bhawan here today, “We have doubts about the rehabilitation process as it has come to our notice that many people of doubtful origin are returning without proper verification of their citizenship. This must be stopped.”
The committee said the state government-prepared format for the second phase of rehabilitation, which requires relief camp inmates to disclose their antecedents with or without supporting documents as proof of their citizenship, was unacceptable.
“How can we rely on job cards, bank passbooks, PAN cards and village council development committee certificates for identifying genuine Indian citizens? Identification should be made solely on the basis of the 1971 voter list if one does not have land documents,” Brahma said.
BTC chief Hagrama Mohilary had recently said the 1971 voter list should be the only criterion for rehabilitating riot-hit genuine Indian citizens in the second phase, which aims to resettle victims without land pattas. He had also said the BTC does not agree to many points in the state government-prepared format for the second phase of rehabilitation.
The coordination committee also expressed dissatisfaction over distribution of forms among camp inmates belonging to indigenous communities, including Bodos, demanding proof of citizenship. “There is no question of an indigenous community member proving that he is not an illegal migrant,” Brahma said.
The committee said it would stage a protest in front of the Kokrajhar deputy commissioner’s office on October 25 on the issues of rehabilitation and illegal migration.