Sarbananda Sonowal, Assam chief minister, reportedly raced to Delhi on Monday to attend the signing of a “fresh” Bodo Accord. In a bid to fix the Bodoland dispute, Centre decided to sign a peace accord with the National Democratic Front of Bodoland (NDFB), All Bodo Students’ Union (ABSU) and few others.
Resolving the Bodoland conflict
On Monday, the government approved an agreement with one of the dreaded rebel groups of Assam, the NDFB, providing political and economic bonuses. The ABSU, which has been creating a movement for a Bodoland state was also a signatory to the agreement.
Who are Bodos?
Bodos are an ethnolinguistic population spread across north-east India but are united in Assam. They speak the Bodo language, a mixture of an accent of Tibetan and Burmese, identified as one of the twenty-two scheduled languages in the constitution of India.
What is the Bodoland conflict?
The demand for a separate state ‘Bodoland’ obtained drive in the mid-1980s to protect their culture and identity as Mizoram, which had already been given the status of a Union Territory was given full statehood in 1987.
The campaign for a separate state of Bodoland was commenced by All Bodo Students’ Union as they insisted that Bodos were a marginalized community and were lacking their rights in Assam.
The campaign turned brutal in many districts taking hundreds of lives. The center was then forced to sign a deal with the ABSU to reestablish peace in the area.
The final agreement
The agreement was signed by CM Sarbananda Sonowal, followed by the topmost leadership of the four divisions of the NDFB, ABSU, Joint Secretary in the Home Ministry Satyendra Garg and Kumar Sanjay Krishna (Assam Chief Secretary), in attendance of Union Home Minister Amit Shah.
Amit Shah said, “The agreement will facilitate all-round development of the Bodo areas, their language and culture will be protected without compromising the territorial integrity of Assam. The success of the latest Bodo agreement, the third in 27 years, was guaranteed as all Bodo outfits were on board.”
What else does the agreement have?
Cases upon NDFB organizations involving non-cruel crimes will be eliminated by the Assam government, while cases involving more severe offenses will be examined on a case-to-case footing.
The total number of assembly seats in BTC will go up to 60 from 40, however, this will be applicable only from 2026 assembly polls.
It has also been accepted that a Rs 1,500 crore economic package shall be released over the next three years for Bodo areas, with the Center and Assam government contributing equal measures, Deputy commissioners and SPs districts within BTAD will be posted in consultation with BTAD chief executive member.
A historical accord
“It is a historical accord,” Union Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla said and asserted that the pact will bring a comprehensive solution to the Bodo issue.
Himanta Biswa Sarma, who happens to be an Assam minister said the Bodo Peace Accord will head to a “full and final” resolution to the decades-old Bodo problem.
“The BodoAccord shall reaffirm the territorial integrity of Assam and at the same time lead us into a new hope of peace and development in Bodoland,” he said.
He also praised all those who made the “historic” agreement possible which was later signed with the “blessings” of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and under the “leadership” of Union Home Minister Amit Shah.