GUWAHATI, Aug 25 - The All Bodo Students’ Union (ABSU) today said it would resume the agitation of a separate Bodoland State, along with the National Democratic Front of Boroland (Peace) and the People’s Joint Action Committee for Bodoland, from August 30 with a five-hour long National Highway blockade.
Addressing a press conference jointly with NDFB (Peace) general secretary Gobinda Basumatary here today, ABSU president Pramod Boro said that since the revival of the movement for a separate Bodoland, four rounds of talks with the Union Government led by the UPA had been held, with the last taking place on February 27, 2014, but in vain.
The ABSU had extended support to the Bharatiya Janata Party during the 2014 Lok Sabha elections. With the BJP-led government, a tripartite talk was held on June 9, 2015 on the Bodoland issue, but there has been no concrete step on the part of the Central government to resolve the issue, Boro said.
“We want justice insofar as our right to self-determination is concerned,” he said.
The ABSU president lambasted the inaction of the Centre on the issue of mainstreaming those militants who are on ceasefire. The government has now been resorting to phone calls to extend the ceasefire with the NDFB(P), he said and demanded a clear-cut policy statement on the government’s frequently uttered ‘zero tolerance’ towards violence by militant groups.
Insurgency could have been solved through transparent negotiations involving all the stakeholders, including civil society organisations and the media, he said.
In reply to a question, he said an interlocutor like RN Ravi should be engaged by the Centre to deal with the NDFB ceasefire faction, replacing PC Haldar.
Elaborating the reasons for resumption of the Bodoland movement, he said the BTC Accord has failed to fulfil the aspirations of the Bodo people. “The BTC does not have any financial power and it is getting a meagre annual amount of Rs 400 crore to Rs 500 crore from the government,” he said.
Even the demands concerning the Bodo medium of instruction and recognition to Bodo language as an associated official language have been ignored by the State Government.
Gobinda Basumatary said that the Union Government has so far held 14 rounds of formal and around 25 rounds of informal discussions with the NDFB(P). But the government is not found to be keen on resolving the issues raised by the outfit. Even the issues that could be solved by the State Government have yet to be addressed, he said.
The NDFB(P) faction has 1,150 members in the designated camps and only 836 of them are getting a monthly allowance Rs 3,000 per head, he said. He, too, opposed the continuation of Haldar as the interlocutor.