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Bandh over separate Bodoland state disrupts normal life in Assam
Normal life was crippled in many parts of Assam on Monday because of the 12-hour dawn-to-dusk bandh called by various Bodo organisations to press for the immediate solution of separate Bodoland state and to ensure the political rights for the Bodos living outside the proposed Bodoland state.
The All Bodo Students’ Union (ABSU), National Democratic Front of Bodoland (Progressive) and People’s Joint Action Committee for Bodoland Movement (PJACBM) demanded an immediate solution for the creation of Bodoland state to ensure political and land rights of the Bodos and also to assert their distinct identity, language, culture and tradition. They also demanded that the Bodos living outside the proposed Bodoland state should be given constitutional as well as political rights.
The 12 hour bandh received a total response in Bodo dominated areas of the state particularly in BTAD districts of Kokrajhar, Chirang, Baksa and Udalguri with all business establishments, educational institutions, offices and financial institutions remaining non-functional for a day. The bandh also evoked strong response in parts of Sonitpur, Bongaigaon and Goalpara districts. The roads wore a deserted look as vehicles did not ply on them.
Bodos are the single largest plains tribe in Assam. Since 1967, various groups and political parties have been demanding a separate Bodoland state which will be carved out from Assam stretching from Sonkosh to Sadiya in the Brahmaputra Valley. This led to the signing of two Bodo accords in 1993 and 2003 with an aim to bring an end to the long standing demand of Bodoland state. However, these groups argue that it has not been successful in fulfilling most of the aspiration of the Bodos and they expressed dissatisfaction over the lackadaisical attitude on the part of the Union government towards the Bodoland issue. They have vowed to intensify their democratic non violent protests in the coming days if the government doesn’t take amicable steps to resolve the long pending issues of the Bodos.
These Bodo organisations have already released a schedule of a series of protests which include mass hunger strike starting October 1, 24-hours railway blockade in October and indefinite hunger strike from November.
It is noteworthy to mention that the renewed series of agitation began after the central government failed to continue the political level tripartite talks with the various Bodo groups and the state government.