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Cycle rallies in Assam give fillip to Bodo statehood movement

By K Anurag
October 25, 2011 20:32 IST
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The influential All Bodo Students' Union (ABSU) took out cycle rallies from the North bank of Brahmaputra River between Kokrajhar district to the west and Dhemaji district to the East to press for their demand for a separate state for the Bodo tribe in Assam.

ABSU president Promode Bodo informed that about 7000 ABSU activists and Bodo community members took part in the main cycle rally organised in Kokrajhar district, while participation was satisfactory in other parts of the Bodo tribe-dominated areas in the state.

The ABSU has revived its long-standing but dormant statehood movement after being enthused by the national focus on the on-going Telangana statehood movement. The student's body has warned that this time no economic package for Bodo tribe, however generous it may be, will be able to put the statehood movement on the back burner. They said the community had a bitter taste of failure with the territorial council granted under the Bodo Peace Accord of 2003.

Meanwhile, United People's Democratic Front (UPDF), an organisation of Bodo people has called for a 48-hour Assam bandh from October 31 to press for the community's demand for a separate state. The UPDF central publicity secretary Sujit Basumatary stated that the organisation had extended support to the statehood movement launched by the ABSU.

The UPDF stated that it too no longer believed that an economic package of chained autonomy would be able to usher in overall development and satiate political aspiration of the Bodo tribe. It said that the two earlier territorial councils – Bodoland Autonomous Council (BAC) and Bodoland Territorial Council (BTC) - granted to Bodos by the Central government by virtue of two agreements signed with different agitating Bodo groups had failed to fulfill the aspirations of Bodo people.

The Bodo tribe has over 20 lakh people in Assam, which has a population of over three crore. The leaders of the community demand a separate state for Bodos on the ground of it being the most populous ethnic group in Assam.

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