New Delhi, Aug. 23: Tripartite talks with Assam groups demanding new states will start from September 2, government sources said today.
The talks would mean breaking ice with the groups demanding new states after the declaration on formation of Telangana.
It will also mean some tough questions for the protesters.
They could be asked to present concrete premises for the demands.
“We have prepared a schedule starting from September 2 when we will hold talks with the groups here,” a source in the home ministry said.
Assam chief minister Tarun Gogoi, who was under pressure for holding the talks, may find a breather but his bureaucracy may be in for a long haul, as the negotiations are likely to be prolonged.
The first to hold talks will be the All Bodo Students Union (Absu), whose president, Pramod Boro, has been on hunger strike since yesterday. The union has been very strident and is taken very seriously by the Centre along with the National Democratic Front of Boroland (NDFB).
Negotiations will be held separately with the different Bodo groups — NDFB, Bodo National Conference (BNC) and the students, besides others. Officials said they would also sit across the table with the Koch-Rajbongshis, particularly the All Koch-Rajbongshi Students’ Union (AKRSU), which has demanded a separate Kamtapur state.
Karbi and Dimasa groups may be invited to come for negotiations together, as there is a demand for a united state of the two tribes by the Hill State Democratic Party.
Their united state is different from a stand-alone state for Dimasas.
As Kamtapur straddles Bengal and Assam, an overlapping demand with Bodoland, the demands are a complex mix, with every group pressing on with its own history and argument.
“There is a list of parameters for any new state to be formed,” said a senior government official. “Those would have to be answered,” he said.
Protesters wanting a new Bodoland, for instance, could be asked some tricky questions on composition of population and economic indicators, The Telegraph has learnt. Some stock questions could be: What is the total population of the proposed Bodoland? What is the population of different tribes including Bodos? What is the current revenue from existing resources in Bodoland?
Though Telangana, too, is backward, it has a population of over three crore compared to a few lakh in the smaller states proposed in Assam.
Besides size, economic viability will be another argument used by the Centre to counter the demands.
Telangana has rivers, dams, forests and a terrain not as tough as Assam, according to the Centre, which has begun the process this week of carving out Telangana from Andhra Pradesh.