Ahead of PM visit, Bodo groups raise statehood demand

Guwahati, Jan 18 (IANS) Ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Kokrajhar in Assam on Tuesday, three Bodo organisations on Monday reiterated the demand for a separate Bodoland state.

Modi was scheduled to arrive in Gangtok, Sikkim’s capital city, on Monday afternoon to begin his two-day visit to Sikkim and Assam.

The All Bodo Students Union (ABSU), the National Democratic Front of Bodoland-Progressive (NDFB-P) militant group that favours negotiations, and Peoples Joint Action Committee for Bodoland Movement (PJACBM) also said that Modi should by January 19 make the government’s stand clear on the long-pending demands of the Bodos.

“The Bodos have been agitating for many years for a separate state. Over 7,000 people have lost lives during the Bodo movement. Our demand is for a separate state under Articles 2 and 3 of the Constitution,” ABSU president Promod Boro said on Monday.

Modi will land at the Lokapriya Gopinath Bordoloi International Airpiort near Assam’s main city Guwahati and head for Kokrajhar to address a public rally on Tuesday.

He is also scheduled to address a rally at Khanapara area of Guwahati in the afternoon, followed by a visit to the IIT-Guwahati later in the day.

“We have seen the creation of new states of Uttarakhand, Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh in the past. During Congress government’s rule, Telengana was created. However, nothing has been done for a separate state for the Bodos,” Promod Boro said.

NDFB-P general secretary Gobinda Basumatary said Bodo people were awaiting eagerly the prime minister’s visit.

“A Bodoland state was on the BJP election manifesto for the 2014 Lok Sabha polls. But nothing was done to fulfill the demand even as the party formed the government at the Centre,” Basumatary said.

He said the Bharatiya Janata Party assured people that all insurgency-related problems in the north-east would be solved within six months if it came to power at the Centre, but nothing had been done so far even after 19 months.

“Although the central government held over 40 rounds of discussion with the NDFB-P after a ceasefire agreement in 2005, it failed to find a lasting solution so far to the vexed issue,” the NDFB-P leader said.

PJACBM convener Jebraram Moshahary said the civil society group hoped Modi would patiently consider the legitimate demand for a separate state.

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