Friday, December 14, 2007

Threat to revive ‘Bodoland’ demand

KOKRAJHAR, Dec 4: A section of former Bodo leaders today said they will revive their original demand of “separate State of Bodoland” if the Government provides ST status to the six communities who have been demanding their inclusion in the ST list. They warned the State Government of unrest in the State if it goes ahead with its decision to accord ST status to the six communities.

The six communities that have been demanding their inclusion in the ST list are the Mottocks, Morans, Koch-Rajbongshis, Chutias, Tea Tribes and the Tai Ahoms.

Talking to The Sentinel today, former senior Bodo leader Daorao Dekhreb Nazrary, who is also the treasurer of the BPPF (H), said both New Delhi and Dispur should remember that the existing tribal communities, who are the sons of the soil of Asom, must not be affected by granting of ST status to more communities of the State. He said the Government is going ahead with its decision to accord ST status to the Adivasis — who hailed from Bihar, Orissa and Madhya Pradesh a century ago as tea workers— after the recent Beltola incident is not acceptable. “It is a matter of shame for the State Government that it has succumbed to the pressure from Jharkhand leaders to grant ST status to the Adivasis,” Narzary said, and added: “The Government shouldn’t forget that thousands of Bodos and other tribes of the State lost their lives in the name of creation of the territorial council, script issue, the medium of instruction and other issues, but nobody in the State raised his or her voice in favour of the demand of the Bodos.” He said Bodo women were gang-raped at Bhunka in 1989, Baghmara (Barpeta) in 1991, and at Ultapani many of them were molested by security personnel, but neither the media highlighted all neither those incidents nor the administration brought the culprits to the book. He urged the State Government to review its decision to send fresh recommendations to the Centre for ST status to the six communities.

Talking to The Sentinel, All Assam Tribal Sangha (AATS) president Ranjit Kumar Borgoyary said the Sangha will not be a mute spectator it the Government goes ahead with granting ST status to the six communities. He said the AATS will launch a massive agitation in the State within the next few days to register its protest against the move to include more communities in the ST list. Borgoyary held the State Government responsible for its failure to protect tribal in the State. BTC chief Hagrama Mohilary said nobody has objection to ST status to the Adivasis and other five communities, but the move should not affect the interest of the existing tribes. “The six communities, if included in the ST list, should be categorized separately,” he added.

Former senior Bodo leader A Daimary, while talking to The Sentinel, said the Bodos and other tribal people of the region have no alternative but to revive their demand of separate “State of Bodoland” if the Government accords ST status to the six communities.

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