ABSU calls 12-hour railway blockade on August 2

The UPA’s decision to create a separate Telangana State by bifurcating Andhra Pradesh has fuelled the revival of the movement by the Bodo political parties and groups in Assam for Bodoland.

The All Bodo Students’ Union (ABSU) on Tuesday announced a series of agitations beginning on August 2 to press its statehood demand. An emergency meeting of the ABSU executive body decided to call a 12-hour railway blockade on August 2 followed by a 60-hour Assam bandh from August 5 to August 7. The student body has also threatened to call a 1000-hour economic blockade if the situation called for it, while continuing its movement after Eid.

In a statement, ABSU president Pramod Boro and general secretary Ramio P. Narzary welcomed the decision to create Telangana but flayed the UPA government for ignoring the Bodoland demand.

“We had not called any bandh over the past 12 years. However, the deceptive policy of the UPA government on the demand for Bodoland has compelled us to call a bandh and to resort to other mass agitation programmes. We will be forced to intensify the agitation if the Centre fails to respond to our demand,” Mr. Boro told The Hindu.

Six-year movement

The ABSU spearheaded a six-year-long vigorous statehood movement and raised the slogan “Divide Assam fifty-fifty” from 1987 to 1993 that culminated in the signing of the first Bodo Accord on February 20, 1993 and creation of an autonomous council — Bodoland Autonomous Council (BAC). The statehood movement was revived by the student body in 1996 alleging that the accord was not implemented and that the BAC failed to fulfil the aspirations of the people living in BAC areas. The ABSU suspended the revived statehood movement following signing of the second Bodo Accord among the Centre, Assam government and the erstwhile militant outfit Bodo Liberation Tigers (BLT) on February 10, 2003.

Earlier on Monday, the Bodoland People’s Front (BPF), the coalition partner of the ruling Congress-led government in Assam, said that if the Centre announced Telangana ahead of the next Lok Sabha polls, then it must also announce a Bodoland State simultaneously.

Mass rally on Aug. 4

BPF president and Chief Executive Member (CEM) of the Bodoland Territorial Council (BTC) Hagrama Mohilary announced that a mass rally would be held in Kokrajhar on August 4 to mount pressure on both the Centre and the Assam government.

The BTC, a territorial council set up under amended provisions of the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution, was created following signing of a Memorandum of Settlement (MoS) by the BLT led by Mr. Mohilary with the Centre and the State government.

The erstwhile BLT launched an armed campaign for statehood parallel to a revived statehood movement spearheaded by the ABSU from 1996 to 2003. Mr. Mohilary said that at the time of signing the MoS, the erstwhile BLT dropped the demand for a separate Bodoland as the Centre then told the outfit leaders during peace talks that the government had no policy to create any new smaller State.

Demand for Kamtapur

Apart from the Bodo groups, the All Koch Rajbangshi Student Union has been demanding a separate Kamtapur State comprising 11 districts of Assam and five districts of North Bengal while the Hills State Democratic Party has been demanding a separate State comprising the two hill districts of Assam — Karbi Anglong and Dima Hasao.