Non-Bodo organisations on Monday said the tripartite Bodo Accord has granted an “unofficial state” to the Bodos. They said they would continue their democratic protest and move court soon.
Hiteswar Barman of the All Koch Rajbongshi Students’ Union (AKRSU), Arobindo Nath of Nath-Yogi Students’ Union, All Bodo Minority Students’ Union (ABMSU), Stefan Lokhra of All Adivasi Students’ Union, Madhav Rajbongshi of Oboro Suraksha Samiti and Dipjyoti Hazarika of Kalita Janagoshthi Students’ Union, among others, held a press conference on Monday here around 2pm.
The organisations resolved that they would continue their protest against the formation of a Union Territorial Council until the government discusses the issues of the non-Bodo people living in the region.
Barman said it is not a peace agreement, it is an agreement of “unrest”.
“The government should take all the stakeholders into confidence before finalising the Accord. They should inform us. The accord will diminish the rights of non-Bodo people,” he said. They termed the agreement “one-sided” and “unfortunate”.
Barman and Stefan said the government had earlier signed agreements in 1993 and in 2003 but the Bodos continued their demand for a separate state.
“Who will guarantee that they will not again demand a separate state? We don’t believe that Bodos will not seek a separate state anymore. The fresh Accord has given them an unofficial separate state,” Barman said.
“Nobody listens to the non-Bodos, just because we protest democratically and not use arms? Nobody gives us importance.”
Kokrajhar MP Naba Sarania termed January 27 as a Black Day when the fresh Bodo Peace Accord was signed between the Bodo factions, including its rebel groups and the Centre. He said it was an “undemocratic” of the government to sign a treaty with the Bodo groups without the consulting the non-Bodo groups of the BTC region.
Sarania told reporters: “The Centre said the Accord will bring peace in the region. We also want peace but it’s unfair to discuss only one side overlooking the non-Bodos living in BTC. It’s sad and that’s why we condemned the way it was done. It was discriminatory.”
Sarania who claims to represent the non-Bodo population living in the BTC, had warned the Centre to ensure the protection of constitutional rights of the non-tribal population of Assam while signing the peace accord.
“The government has been overlooking the section of people who are demanding equal rights in a democratic way but chosen to address those who had taken arms. If the new accord discriminates against the non-Bodos even slightly, it will not be accepted,” said Sarania, who himself is a rebel-turned-politician.
Additional reporting by Pranjal Baruah in Guwahati