Bodoland takes state demand to PM

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  1. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    BPF takes state demand to PM

    Singh assures team of talks

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    New Delhi, Aug. 7: The Bodoland People’s Front (BPF), an ally of the Congress-led government in Assam, today met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh over their demand for a separate state for the Bodos.

    BPF Rajya Sabha MP Biswajit Daimary said after the meeting that the Prime Minister had assured them that Union home minister Sushil Kumar Shinde would hold talks with them over the issue when he recovers from his surgery and returns.

    “He (Shinde) will be empowered to take decisions during political negotiations on Bodoland,” Daimary said, quoting Singh. “We were satisfied with what he said. After all, it is the Prime Minister who has assured us,” he added.

    The delegation was led by BPF president Hagrama Mohilary and included, among others, Daimary, BPF Lok Sabha MP Sansuma Khunggur Bwiswmuthiary and state minister Chandan Brahma.

    The same delegation had met Shinde last week, immediately after the announcement on Telangana. Before calling on Singh, the leaders staged a dharna at Jantar Mantar here.

    After meeting Singh, they flew to Guwahati for a scheduled meeting with Gogoi, along with other leaders of Absu and Bodo National Conference (BNC), this evening. The BNC is a conglomeration of several organisations, including the BPF.

    The UPA government has undertaken a two-pronged strategy to deal with the protests by Bodo groups over statehood — political deliberations by the home minister here as Assam chief minister Tarun Gogoi holds fort in Dispur.

    The Centre’s strategy, however, appears to be having a limited impact as groups like the National Democratic Front of Boroland (NDFB) and students are not satisfied.

    The influential All Bodo Students Union (Absu) insists that unless tripartite talks commence, protests will continue. “The chief minister’s meeting is being held just to defuse the situation. We will think of stopping the protests when there is a tripartite meeting,” Absu president Pramode Boro said over phone from Guwahati.

    The NDFB (Progressive), which is engaged in talks with the Centre, said the agitation would go on.

    “The BPF is part of the government. So when they say something it hardly matters. Moreover, the chief minister cannot grant statehood. It is the Centre which has to decide,” the group’s general secretary Govind Basumatary said.

    Daimary felt the future course of protest would be discussed within the BNC but protesters seem determined to continue demonstrations.

    The protests have left the security establishment worried about its effect on supply lines to the Northeast.

    A glimmer of hope for peaceful protests became visible as various organisations in the Bodoland area lowered the pitch of protests and reduced the duration of their strikes and bandhs.

    The Absu president, however, said this was because of Id in the Bodo belt.

    With the clamour for states rising in the wake of the Telangana announcement, the Centre is seeking to assuage hurt feelings amid the charge of partisanship.

    Singh had yesterday met a large delegation of Karbi and Dimasa leaders who pressed for a separate hill state. Sources said the Prime Minister might have convinced them to be patient and protest peacefully.

    Today, he explained to the BPF delegates that Telangana was a very old demand and it took time to fructify. “Similarly, Bodoland discussion may also take time, he told us,” Daimary said.

    BPF takes state demand to PM

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    The can of worms has opened.

    Would smaller states be more efficient?
     
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