GUWAHATI, March 9 - Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal has assured the All Bodo Students’ Union (ABSU) that he would take an initiative to arrange tripartite talks on the Bodoland issue at the political level. He also said that senior officers of the State government would hold talks with the ABSU on the issues that can be handled by the State.
Talking to The Assam Tribune, ABSU president Pramode Boro said a delegation of the student body had a discussion with the Chief Minister last evening and expressed concern over the failure of the Central government to hold a meaningful dialogue on the demand for a separate state of Bodoland. He said that since the BJP-led NDA government came to power at the Centre, not a single round of talk was held at the political level on the issue.
Boro said that during the course of the discussion, the Chief Minister assured them that he would hold talks with the Centre as soon as possible to arrange for a tripartite talk on the issue.
The ABSU president said that there are certain issues, which can be dealt with by the State government. During the talks, the Chief Minister said the State Chief Secretary would initiate a discussion on the issues with the ABSU soon.
Meanwhile, the ABSU will start an indefinite hunger strike from tomorrow in Kokrajhar in support of its demand for creation of a separate state of Bodoland.
During the discussion yesterday, the ABSU also submitted a memorandum to the Chief Minister and demanded that all the stakeholders should be involved in the tripartite talks.
The ABSU demanded that the State government formulate a clear-cut land policy and effective steps be taken to protect the tribal belts and blocks in the interest of the indigenous people of the State. The newly constituted committee on land rights should hold talks with the coordination committee of tribal organisations. The ABSU also demanded that the ST and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Rights) Act should be implemented.
On the problems faced by the students, the ABSU reiterated its demand for creation of a separate directorate for Bodo-medium schools with separate budget provisions. The organisation said that the birthday of former ABSU president Upendra Nath Brahma should be declared as Students’ Day. Immediate steps should be taken to provide textbooks to students of the Bodo- medium schools, the ABSU said.
The ABSU also demanded use of Bodo as one of the official languages of the State and establishment of a Bodo cultural research and development centre in Guwahati.