Narendra Modi lauds Bodos for peace pact

GS Paper II

Topic: Government policies and interventions

Prelims: Bodos

Mains: Benefits of Bodo Accord

What’s the News?

Recently, the central government, the Assam government and the Bodo groups, including all factions of the militant National Democratic Front of Bodoland (NDFB), signed an agreement to redraw and rename the Bodoland Territorial Area District (BTAD) as the Bodoland Territorial Region (BTR), in Assam.

Background:

Bodos are the single largest community among the notified Scheduled Tribes in Assam. Bodos are a part of Bodo-Kachari and constitute about 5-6% of Assam’s population.

Bodoland Territorial Area District (BTAD):

BTAD is spread over four districts of Kokrajhar, Chirang, Baksa and Udalguri.

The BTAD and other areas mentioned under the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution have been exempted from the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA), 2019.

Bodo issue:

  • The first organised demand for a Bodo state came in 1967-68.
  • The Assam Accord of 1985, gave rise to Bodo aspirations and in 1987, ABSU revived the Bodo statehood demand.
  • Bodo Security Force which arose in 1986 as an armed group renamed itself NDFB, and later split into factions.
  • The first Bodo accord was signed with the ABSU in 1993. It led to the creation of the Bodoland Autonomous Council (BAC) with some limited political powers.
  • In 2003, the second Bodo Accord was signed by the extremist group Bodo Liberation Tiger Force (BLTF), the Centre and the state. This led to the creation of BTC, which is an autonomous body under the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution.

Third Bodo Accord: 

  • This is the third Bodo accord to be signed in last 27 years when the violent movement for a separate Bodoland state claimed hundreds of lives, destruction of public and private properties.
  • The first Bodo accord was signed with the All Bodo Students Union (ABSU) in 1993, leading to creation of a Bodoland Autonomous Council with limited political powers.
  • In 2003, the second Bodo accord was signed with the militant group Bodo Liberation Tigers (BLT), leading to formation of a Bodoland Territorial Council (BTC) with four districts of Assam — Kokrajhar, Chirang, Baska and Udalguri — called the Bodoland Territorial Area District (BTAD).
  • The BTC has control over 30 subjects like education, forests, horticulture but no jurisdiction on the police, revenue and general administration departments, which are controlled by the Assam government. The BTC was formed under the 6th Schedule of the Constitution.
  • The demand for a separate state for the Bodos has been going on in Assam for about five decades and several Bodo overground and militant groups raising it leading to agitations, protests, violence and many deaths.

Benefits:

  • The accord will successfully bring together leading stakeholders under one framework.
  • People previously associated with armed resistance groups will enter the mainstream and contribute to the nation’s progress.
  • It will further protect and popularise the unique culture of the Bodo people and will give them access to a wide range of development-oriented initiatives.
  • It will bring peace, harmony and togetherness in the people of Assam.