ABSU raises statehood demand in Delhi

NEW DELHI, Oct 29 – Contending that alienation of the Bodo people is complete, All Bodo Students Union (ABSU) held the State Government responsible for failing to stop killings of innocent people by extremists.

The powerful Bodo students body staged a demonstration in the capital to press for creation of a separate State of Bodoland, besides other demands. The delegation also met Minister of State in Prime Minister’s Office, Prithviraj Chavan.

President and general secretary of ABSU, Pramod Boro and Jiron Basumatary, respectively, claimed that as far as the demand for a separate State is concerned, all factions were united despite their differences.

“Though we are divided, the issue is important and demand for a separate State is a long-standing one,” said the general secretary.

Home Minister, P Chidambaram’s statement on creation of Telanagana State has led us to change our strategy and demand for a separate State, said Basumatary.

However, ABSU leaders were quick to add that they do not have faith in solution of their problems under the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution, as it has failed to deliver. The Government of India, Assam Government and BLT signed the Bodo Accord in 2003 paving the way for their entry into politics.

The leaders claimed that though they have revived the demand for a separate State, they are in no hurry to intensify their agitation, in the face of the violent atmosphere prevailing in the BTAD areas. “Ours would be a non-violent and democratic movement, the president and general secretary said.

The Bodo student leaders expressed dismay at the violence in BTAD areas, alleging that during 2008-2009, at least 150 people were killed in separate incidents. Those killed included people from various walks of life including teachers, students, lecturers, journalists, among others.

There is no sense of security, as the State Government is turning a blind eye to these incidents. No official has been suspended, and no proper inquiry conducted. The National Human Rights Commission is now conducting inquiries into the killings and violation of human rights.

Alleging gross apathy, the ABSU leaders stated that there was no development activities. They pointed out that at least 25 bills were passed by the BTC but the Governor is yet to give his consent to a single Bill. “Government of Assam is intentionally not working to solve our problems,” they alleged.

Since 2003-2004, only 27 Bodo medium schools were provincialised and till now the State Government has not created separate directorate for Bodo medium schools. There is no mid-day meal, no books for Bodo schools, while there is no initiative to set up State university, medical or engineering colleges.

Apart from the demand of a separate State, ABSU is demanding protection and propagation of Bodo language, inclusion of Bodo-Kacharis of Karbi Anglong district into the ST (Hill) list, special status for plains tribals of Assam living outside the Council areas, Bodo language promotion bureau, permanent solution to flood and erosion problem, among others.