The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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100-hour bandh call in Assam

Guwahati, Nov. 1: The Sanmilita Janagosthiya Sangram Samiti (SJSS), an umbrella organisation of non-Bodos, today braced for another round of anti-BTC campaign with a 100-hour Assam bandh call from the day the interim council assumes charge.

The state government issued a notification yesterday paving the way for creation of the Bodoland Territorial Council, giving more autonomy to the Bodos after nine months of rumblings.

The second Bodo Accord was signed between the militant Bodo Liberation Tigers (BLT), the Centre and the state government on February 10, recommending the creation of the BTC. The SJSS has been opposing the formation of the council tooth and nail.

Dubbing the state government’s move as “undemocratic, fascist and one-sided”, the apex body of the non-Bodos also expressed apprehension that the formation of the new administrative set up giving more autonomy to the Bodos would “fuel fratricidal clashes among the Bodos and non-Bodos in Lower Assam”.

The BLT top leadership is scheduled to discuss the modalities for formation of the interim council with leaders of frontal Bodo organisations and elected representatives of the community at Kokrajhar on November 5.

SJSS chief convenor Brajen Mahanta today flayed both the Union and state governments for “trampling on the rights of non-Bodos and surrendering to a handful of gun-toting youths for their narrow political interests.”

Mahanta pointed out that in the 46-member council, only five seats would be reserved for non-Bodos against 30 for the Bodos. Five seats in the body would be kept open for all communities while the government would nominate six representatives.

“The state government has issued the notification in total disregard for protests and opposition by majority of the people living in the BTC areas.

“This is not only undemocratic, but it will also lead to disintegration of Assam as it would encourage each and every ethnic group to raise the demand for their own territory. By creating the BTC, Delhi and Dispur have sowed seeds of disintegration in the greater Assamese society,” Mahanta added.

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