| BTC chief Hagrama Mohilary at the inaugural ceremony of the cemetery in Kokrajhar on Friday. Picture by UB Photos |
Kokrajhar, Feb. 10: It’s a movement that has withstood the test of time and matured beyond violence into a political campaign, and though the dream, Bodoland, is yet to become a reality, scores have made the supreme sacrifice over the years for the cause.
Today, on the occasion of the 11th Bodoland Day celebration, these martyrs got their rightful place in history with the unveiling of the Bodoland Martyrs’ Cemetery at Debargaon here.
From bronze statues of 15-year-olds Sujit Narzary and Helena Basumatary — the first martyrs of the movement who laid down their lives for the cause in 1987 and 1988 respectively — and Bodofa Upendra Nath Brahma, Gaide Basumatary, Bir Chilagang Basumatary, Bineswar Brahma, Haigwra Bodosa, Swmbla Basumatary, Horkhap Narzary and Baliram Boro, the cemetery houses 1,605 tombs inscribed with names and addresses of those who made the supreme sacrifice between 1987 and 2003.
Built on a 45-bigha plot 10km north of this town, the Rs 5-crore project was implemented by the tourism and implementation of Bodo accord departments and executed by PWD buildings. Work on the cemetery had started in 2004.
BTC chief Hagrama Mohilary unveiled this “dream project” of his today in presence of the family members of the martyrs, among others, and paid homage to the heroes and heroines who laid down their lives in pursuance of their dream of a separate Bodoland. He said the cemetery was a tribute to the martyrs.
The erstwhile leader of the now disbanded Bodoland Liberation Tigers (BLT) said, “We could achieve BTC because of their sacrifices,” adding that many more had lost their lives or had become physically handicapped for the cause.
Mohilary, along with the martyrs’ family members, paid floral tributes to the deceased. Later, the BTC administration felicitated the family members.
Asserting that the BTC Accord was signed not to deprive any section of the community living within the Bodo belt but to ensure development in the region, he said the Bodos wanted to live with their distinct identity by preserving their language, culture and traditions, among others, and urged people of every community to lend a helping hand in making BTC a model administration.
Lok Sabha MP Sansuma Kunggur Bwiswmuthiary said the dream of the Bodos was to have a Bodoland state but this was yet to be fulfilled. “Revolutionary thanks and gratitude to the great devoted souls, to the heroes and heroines who laid their valuable lives for the future of the Bodos. One day, some day, our dream will become a reality,” he said.
He said the philosophy of Bodofa Upendra Nath Brahma would strengthen new generations till the ultimate goal was fulfilled and urged all sections of people and organisations to be united in the fight to achieve the goal of a separate Bodoland.
Leaders of Absu, Bodo Sahitya Sabha and All Bodo Women Welfare Federation also spoke on the occasion.
A group of singers from different communities of Assam staged a concert — Samannay (harmony) — during the Bodoland Day celebration at Runikhata in Kokrajhar district today to send out a message of communal harmony and co-existence.
Shyamkanu Mahanta, the man behind the concert, said it was also organised at the Bishnu Rabha Kristi Sangha ground in Udalguri on February 8 where leading singers like Manas Robin, Priyanka Bharali, Mishing singer Tarulota Kutum, Karbi singer Phu Ning Ding, Adivasi singer Sajan Nayak and Bodo singer Dowhang Mushahary had performed.