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Rift over panel on Bodoland

- Absu rally to protest Centre’s decision on one-man committee

Kokrajhar, Feb. 24: Differences have crept in among the pro-Bodoland groups over the Centre’s decision to set up a one-man committee to look into the viability of a Bodoland state and issues related to land.

While the Bodoland People’s Front (BPF) and Bodo National Conference (BNC) have welcomed the decision, the All-Bodo Students Union (Absu) and its allied organisations have rejected it.

The students’ union today took out a rally in protest against the Centre’s decision.

Hundreds of people and members of Absu and its allied organisations participated in the rally in the district and subdivisional headquarters.

Absu president Pramod Boro said there is no justification in forming an expert committee. No such committee had been formed before the creation of new states in the past or in the creation of Telangana.

The students’ union had set February 27, the day that Bodo students will meet Union home minister Sushil Kumar Shinde, as the deadline for the government to announce a policy on the creation of Bodoland.

He said the Bodoland movement sought the constitutional and political rights of the Bodo people and that the culture, tradition, literature and all aspects of the community can only exist and grow under a separate state.

The Absu leader said if the Centre does not come up with concrete idea on the creation of Bodoland, there will be widespread protests and they would launch a 100-hour train blockade by March, followed by 500-hour and 1,000-hour blockades.

BTC chief Hagrama Mohilary, the BPF party president, said there is a misconception among the people and organisations, including Absu, regarding the creation of an expert committee.

He said the committee would study the feasibility of creating Bodoland.

“The formation of an expert committee is one of the processes required to attain statehood like Telangana, Chhattisgarh, Uttaranchal and Uttarakhand,” he said.

Mohilary said a four-member delegation from the BPF would meet the home minister this week for the approval of an expert committee.

The decision to set up a one-man committee to look into the viability of Bodoland and issues related to land was taken by the government at a tripartite meeting with pro-Bodoland groups on Friday.

The committee is likely to be headed by former Union home secretary G.K. Pillai, home ministry sources said.

Mohilary said they would organise a public meeting where the people’s opinion would be considered regarding the formation of an expert committee from March 4.

“We will take the opinion of the public and intellectuals. The BPF will also launch a campaign in each district — on March 4 in Kokrajhar, March 5 in Chirang, March 6 in Baksa and March 8 in Udalguri,” he said.

Appeal: The newly floated Bodoland Students Union in the BTAD expressed concern over the general strikes called during the ongoing final examinations HSLC and Higher Secondary examinations across the state.

Swgwmshar Basumatary, the president of the union, said the 36-hour strike beginning this evening across the state was unfortunate.

He appealed to all organisations and parties not to call strikes during examinations and to withdraw those for the greater interest of students.


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