| Absu activists take out a rally in Kokrajhar on Saturday. Telegraph picture |
Kokrajhar, March 2: The All-Bodo Students Union (Absu) took out processions in all the district headquarters across the state today to press for a separate “Bodoland” state.
Thye also submitted a memorandum to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh through the deputy commissioners of the districts.
The Absu urged the government to resolve the issue on the basis of legitimacy and geographical and administrative convenience as the proposed Bodoland includes the 32 tribal belts and blocks on the north bank of the Brahmaputra. The area demanded for the state comprises 25,000 square km from the Sankosh river in the west to Sadia in the east along the foothills of Bhutan and Arunachal Pradesh.
It also urged the Centre to address the statehood demand issue in the country and constitute a second state re-organisation commission to ensure equality and rapid all-round development.
Speaking to reporters, Absu general secretary Romeo P. Narzary said the Centre should reorganise states wherever such demands have been raised in the country and create “Bodoland” as soon as possible “to fulfil the genuine hopes and aspirations of the Bodos” and “for the larger interest of the people living in Assam”.
It warned: “Any discrimination on the part of the central government will disrespect the sentiments of the people and have far-reaching consequences.”
Narzary said the Centre should treat the issue of Bodoland at a par with Telangana. “The Absu warns the Centre not to deceive the Bodos while creating a new state in the country, for they will not tolerate a further denial of their demands.”
In its memorandum, the Absu said the indigenous people were hurt that none of the successive state governments had protected their land.
“The encroachment on tribal land continues. Over 360,601 bighas of land of the 45 tribal belts and blocks of Assam have been taken over by non-tribal and Bangladeshi migrants, according to records from January 31, 1990. As a result, the indigenous people have become a minority in their own land and they have been systematically marginalised as far as the strength of their electorate is concerned. If such a policy of liquidation and negation of tribal power continues for any longer, the time will come when the tribals will be nowhere in the representative system of politics and in the decision-making process. Hence a system of issuing inner-line permits to people coming from outside should be introduced,” it demanded.
The Absu urged the Centre to give more autonomy to the autonomous council areas of Assam, with full-fledged constitutional backing as well as full financial and administrative powers on the lines of the Sixth Schedule.
It also urged the government to ensure equal status for all the indigenous people in the autonomous councils.