Violence mars agitation ahead of G.K. Pillai’s visit

The police on Monday resorted to baton-charge and teargas to disperse anti-Bodoland protesters who blocked a rail line in Kokrajhar district ahead of Tuesday’s visit by the former Union Home Secretary, G.K. Pillai, who has been tasked by the Centre with looking into the Statehood demand of Bodo groups.

The protest at the Fakiragram station was in retaliation for a rail blockade called by the Sanmilita Janagosthiya Eikya Mancha and the All BTC. The Minority Students Union has decided to oppose Mr. Pillai’s visit.

Meanwhile, normal life in the four Bodoland Territorial Area Districts of Kokrajhar, Chirang, Baksa and Udalguri was also hit by a 24-hour Statewide bandh called by the Aboro Suraksha Samiti, which is opposed to a separate state of Bodoland. Several vehicles were damaged in stone throwing and other attacks by bandh supporters.

On Sunday, two separate rallies were held in Kokrajhar town —one organised by the Bodoland People’s Front (BPF), which welcomed Mr. Pillai’s visit, and the other by the All Bodo Students’ Union (ABSU), which has rejected the expert committee.

The BPF has suggested that the Centre form an expert committee to hold discussion with all sections living in Bodoland area.

The ABSU, on the other hand, insisted that the Centre create the separate State on the lines of Telangana, instead of “resorting to a time-buying exercise” like constitution of an expert committee.

Mr. Pillai has to submit a report within nine months of holding discussions with all stakeholders