Kokrajhar, Feb. 23: The NDFB (P) today said it would not take part in peace talks unless these are held at the highest political level.
Calling the ongoing dialogue “an exercise aimed at sidetracking the main issue (state demand)”, the outfit demanded a direct invite from the Union home minister.
In a statement released to the media today, the outfit’s information and publicity secretary, S. Sanjarang, said the demand for Bodoland being a political demand, it needed to be resolved at that level, not through bureaucratic channels. “We demand prompt steps to expedite the dialogue at the political level. We are not against the talks; therefore we demand a direct invitation from the Union home minister,” Sanjarang said.
“As per the Constitution, it does not require any resolution from the state Assembly to create a state. We are still eager to have a peaceful negotiated settlement of our people’s political demand. But the level at which the government of India is dealing with it can never resolve it. It is an insult to Bodos and other indigenous people of Assam,” he said.
“The government of India is ridiculously misleading the Bodos and other indigenous people of Assam. We are really upset and dissatisfied with the dialogue,” he said.
Sanjarang said during the meeting with Union home minister Sushil Kumar Shinde on January 16, they had placed several demands, including expedition of the talks process, adoption of a pragmatic and clear-cut policy to resolve the demand for Bodoland and holding of talks at the political level instead of wasting time on bureaucrat-level dialogue.
“The NDFB (P) leaders told the Union home minister in the meeting that the Bodo people had been demanding Bodoland for the last 47 years, to which he acknowledged it as the ‘people’s demand’. As a result of the meeting, we had the latest round of talks in New Delhi on the January 31 under the chairmanship of P.C. Haldar,” Sanjarang said. However, this seemed to be “an exercise aimed at side-tracking the main issue”, as the people engaged by the government of India in the dialogue did not have the authority to resolve the political issue, he added.
“During the last 47 years, six states have been created in India but the demand for Bodoland has been repeatedly turned down and the ongoing dialogue is apparently another ploy to deny the Bodos and other indigenous people their political rights, constitutional justice and legitimacy,” Sanjarang said.