Kokrajhar, Oct. 5: Bodo organisations today warned of a 1,000-hour economic blockade if the government did not take their demand for a separate Bodo state seriously and create Bodoland simultaneously with Telangana state.
The demand by the Peoples’ Joint Committee for Bodoland Movement follows the Union cabinet’s nod to Telangana on Thursday. The committee’s chief convener Jebra Ram Mushahary said the decision was welcome but “sidelining the issue of Bodoland is unfortunate”.
Mushahary said the committee had only suspended its bandh and blockade programme for creating a conducive atmosphere for the time being and could take it up again if the government failed to accord due respect and honour to their demand for Bodoland. He said the committee would decide its future course of action in a meeting at Rangia on October 10.
Various Bodo organisations, including the All Bodo Students’ Union (Absu), the National Democratic Front of Boroland (Progressive), the Bodoland People’s Progressive Front (BPPF) and the United Democratic People's Front (UDPF), will be present in the meeting.
The influential Absu, which is spearheading the Bodoland movement, urged the Centre to resolve the Bodoland issue in the same way it approved the cabinet recommendation to create Telangana.
Welcoming the development on Telangana, Absu president Pramod Boro said India could never be a developed nation unless it addresses and redresses the basic grievances of citizens living in different part of the country.
The Absu warned of continuing its mass movement until Bodoland was created. “We have postponed our bandh and blockades programmes, but if the forthcoming talks do not bear fruit, the union will continue democratic non-violent movement for the creation of Bodoland,” Boro said.
He said Bodos living in the region, particularly in Assam, were suppressed, oppressed and discriminated against. “We are deprived of our constitutional rights.”
Boro said there was no dignity of life and the rich tradition, language, culture and identity of the Bodos and other indigenous people had always been under threat under the Assam government.
A new state, carved out of Assam, is the only way to protect the indigenous people, their culture and resources, he added.
He argued that “small is beautiful” and a small state would serve the people better with good governance, space for participation of citizens and, thus, a healthy democracy.
The Absu has been carrying out mass gatherings to mobilise the masses in support of Bodoland, which is proposed to cover 25,000 square km from the Sankosh river in the west to Sadiya in the east along the foothills of Bhutan and Arunachal Pradesh.