Emotional return for NDFB leaders
Celebrations over the new Bodo accord continued in different parts of the Bodoland Territorial Area Districts (BTAD) in Assam, but a senior NDFB leader hinted that the demand for a separate Bodoland may be revived if the pact is not implemented in letter and spirit and in a time-bound manner.
The Centre and the Assam government on Monday signed an historic accord with Bodo stakeholders, christening the Bodoland Territorial Area District (BTAD) as Bodoland Territorial Region (BTR). The government claimed Assam’s territorial integrity would remain intact.
A mass welcome ceremony was held for the signatories of the pact on Wednesday at Jharbari village in Kokrajhar district along the Indo-Bhutan border.
Men, women and youth of Bodo community performed the traditional Bagurumba dance and raised slogans in support of signatories.
The ceremony was attended by over six thousand and graced by NDFB (S) leaders, Chairman B. Saoraigwra, general secretary B.R. Ferenga, vice-president G. Bidai and social welfare secretary M. Batha were present.
Family members of the NDFB leaders also attended the event and turned emotional after meeting their kin after such a long absence.
Saoraigwra expressed sincere gratitude to the government and Kokrajhar-based rights group North East Heritage Foundation, whose director Prithvi Raj Mech and general secretary Thulunga Basumatary acted as mediators between the government and the organisation.
Ferenga said, “We are satisfied with the pact but if the government doesn’t implement the clauses positively, we will be compelled to launch another democratic movement in future for Bodoland.” He reiterated that the signatories of the pact must implement all the clauses.
An elated BTC chief, Hagrama Mohilary, interacting with mediapersons on the sidelines of the event said, “The historic Bodo pact is not only for the welfare of Bodos but meant for the development and welfare of the various communities residing in the BTC region.”
He said it was “unfortunate” that the All Bodo Students’ Union (Absu), which had been spearheading the movement for a separate Bodoland state, had agreed to sign the pact by giving up the demand for Bodoland.
Another mass gathering will be organised in the BTAD headquarters of Kokrajhar on February 7.
It is likely to be attended by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union home minister Amit Shah.