The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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BLT leaders meet Advani

New Delhi, Sept. 13: A two-member delegation of the Bodo Liberation Tigers (BLT) met deputy Prime Minister L.K. Advani to discuss the ongoing process for the creation of the Bodo Territorial Council (BTC). Advani is understood to have assured them that the process for the council would be expedited.

The delegation comprised BLT vice-chairman Chandan Brahma and publicity secretary Mainao Daimary. The All-Bodo Students’ Union had threatened to launch an agitation if the amendment to the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution and the process of securing the approval of the Assam government was not completed by August 31.

The Sixth Schedule is at present applicable only to hill districts and hence needs to be amended before it can be applied to the plains areas.

Home ministry sources said the amended schedule has already been sent to the state government for approval and that any further step is “contingent upon the state government returning the schedule”. It has been further agreed that the delegation would be summoned next month for more elaborate discussions on the subject.

The entire process has been delayed apparently by the unavailability of Assam chief minister Tarun Gogoi, who is being treated at the All-India Institute of Medical Sciences.

Negotiations have been going on since 2000 and there have been at least 17 rounds of tripartite discussions involving the state, Centre and the Bodo delegates. Certain issues like the BLT’s demand for 90 more villages in the proposed council, the inclusion of Bodo language in the Eighth Schedule and the status of non-Bodos (a majority in the area) in the council, need to be sorted out before the agreement is signed.

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