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Explained: Will the Bodo Peace Accord irk the non-bodos


Guwahati, Feb 07: The people from Bodo community have gathered in their traditional attire in Kokrajhar, Assam on Friday ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's public meeting today and to celebrate the signing of the Bodo Agreement, the Bodo Peace Accord.

The Bodo accord that was signed on January 27, by the Union home minister Amit Shah with banned Assam-based rebel group National Democratic Front of Bodoland (NDFB) to fulfil its key political and economic demands, including safeguarding the Bodo language and culture has created a record of sorts in the annals of insurgency in India.

Explained: Will the Bodo Peace Accord irk the non-bodos

This is the first time that the separatist rebels has been inked an agreement with the government in such a brief span after crossing over from a neighbouring country.

The NDFB factions, which signed the pact, are led by Ranjan Daimari, Govinda Basumatary, Dhiren Boro and B Saoraigra. Saoraigra took over the NDFB faction in 2015 after removing chief IK Songbijit, who had allegedly ordered the killing of nearly 70 tribals in December 2014.

The National Democratic Front of Boroland (NDFB) was already struggling for survival after raids on the rebel camps at Taga in January 2019, by the Myanmar military, Tatmadaw.

PM Modi to visit Assam today to celebrate signing of Bodo agreementPM Modi to visit Assam today to celebrate signing of Bodo agreement

A couple of weeks later, all the NDFB factions including the overground groups joined hands with the All Bodo Students' Union (ABSU) to sign the agreement in New Delhi considered more exhaustive and wide-ranging than the previous two accords with Bodo groups in 1993 and 2003. But it has also fuelled speculation over the consequences of the hasty pact.

Why the Bodo Peace Accord inked hastily?

This is the crucial period for the government as it is trying to wriggle out of the protests that has been continuing nationwide against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), and NDFB's landing in Assam proved to be making hay while the sun shines for the NDFB factions.

Without this protest all around the nation, its predicament would have been the same as the other overground militant outfits in the region, especially those who staying in camps and engaging in talks with the government at regular intervals.

Certainly, the Bodo Peace Accord proved to be the first major fallout of the anti-CAA protest in Assam which has all the features to imbalance the political equations in the state.

As the Bodoland People's Front (BPF) and Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) are two key parties of the BJP in the coalition government in the state and these two parties had won 26 seats out of the total 87 seats that the ruling partners bagged in the assembly polls in 2016.

Accord may upset non-Bodos:

Apparently, for some accord will hopefully accord significantly towards ending militancy in the BTAD, the likelihood of continuing unrest and agitations cannot be excluded as on the other side several non-Bodo leaders, the antagonised as they were never consulted by the government ahead of the agreement.

The non-Bodo communities have alleged discrimination by the Bodo leadership since the council was formed in 2003, this communities generally constitute an overwhelming majority in the four districts of the BTAD.

Only 10 seats are reserved for this community out of a total 40 elected seats in the council which will reportedly now be increased to sixty.

In 2019, many organisations held protests following the council's announcement that no person can sell land in the BTC area to a non-tribal community people without any approval.

But the current map of the BTAD is all set to change as the accord will also provide an inclusion of villages contiguous to the BTR with a majority tribal population and exclusion of villages with a majority of non-tribal population who are presently under the council's jurisdiction which abut non-Sixth Schedule areas.

Though, no other council under the Sixth Schedule in the Northeast has been conferred such wide-ranging powers as the BTC.

But this could also trigger demands from the other councils in the region. However, some complained of erratic disbursal of funds and that thery are being neglected by the state governments.

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