Guwahati, Sept. 28: After years of scouting for youths to wield weapons and wage war against the establishment, the militant Bodo Liberation Tigers (BLT) is now seeking candidates who fit entirely different job descriptions.
BLT chairman Hagrama Basumatary today said Bodo society required IAS and IPS officers, doctors, engineers and IT professionals more than armed revolutionaries.
Addressing a gathering of Bodo students here, he said the dream of “ruling our own territory” could not be fulfilled without the community producing its own bureaucrats and professionals.
“If that does not happen, the Bodos will never be able to progress despite enjoying special powers under the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution.”
Basumatary, a signatory to the tripartite Bodo accord that took effect on February 10, urged Bodo students to aim for the best possible education in institutes of higher learning within the country or abroad.
The president of the All-Bodo Students Union (Absu), Rabiram Narzary, and the Rajya Sabha member representing the community, Urkhao Gwra Brahma, echoed the BLT chief. Both appealed to Bodo students to take up professional courses to be able to meet the challenges of the future.
Gauhati University vice-chancellor G.. Talukdar said Bodo students should inculcate the habit of studying with an eye on competitive examinations, which he described as the gateways to high positions.
After the sermon on education, Basumatary lapsed into the familiar complaint about Delhi and Dispur’s failure to implement the new Bodo accord. He said the BLT would not form an interim Bodoland Territorial Council until the state government agreed to bring 95 additional villages under the proposed administrative set-up.
The other conditions set by the BLT are withdrawal of all cases pending against its members, “equal status” to the Bodos based in the areas administered by the Tiwa, Rabha and Mising autonomous councils, and Scheduled Tribe (Hills) status to members of the community in Karbi Anglong district.
“The state government cannot force us to form the interim council without these demands being fulfilled. We have been through the bitter experience of seeing the 1993 Bodo accord being ignored. We do not want to repeat the mistake by forming the interim council in haste, without the clauses of the new accord being implemented in toto.”
Narzary and Brahma shared the BLT leader’s concern, saying the Centre and the state government had erred in delaying the formation of the new administrative set-up.
The Absu president said the Bodo community had begun to doubt the effectiveness of the BLT’s accord with Delhi and Dispur, given the fact that even an interim council had not been constituted seven months after the pact.