Thousands of Bodo men and women, who waited for several hours at Debargaon in Assam’s Kokrajhar town on Tuesday to welcome the one-man expert committee headed by former Union Home Secretary G.K. Pillai — constituted to go into the demand for a separate state of Bodoland — had to return after listening to speeches by leaders of the Bodoland People’s Front, as Mr. Pillai missed the first date of his study tour.

BPF chief and chief executive member of the Bodoland Territorial Council Hagrama Mahilary and other BPF leaders told the gathering that Mr. Pillai could not come due to “health reasons” but assured them that the expert committee would visit at a later date. The BTC enjoys autonomy under the Sixth Schedule and governs the administration in the Bodoland Territorial Area District (BTAD) comprising four districts of Kokrajhar, Chirang, Baksa and Udalguri.

Life in different parts of BTAD was affected during the day due to a 12-hour BTAD bandh called by the All Assam Minorities Students’ Union opposing the expert committee and any move to create Bodoland. Bandh supporters burnt effigies of Mr. Pillai, Mr. Mahilary and Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi.

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