Union Home Minister Amit Shah presided over the signing of a historic agreement between Government of India, Government of Assam and Bodo representatives, in New Delhi on Monday, to end the over 50-year old Bodo crisis. Further, a permanent solution has been found out for the problem that has cost the region over 4000 lives, the statement said.
With this agreement, over 1500 armed cadres will abjure violence and join the mainstream. A Special Development Package Rs. 1500 crores over three years will be given by the Union Government to undertake specific projects for the development of Bodo areas, it said.
Speaking on the occasion, Shah called this momentous occasion as the harbinger of a golden future for Assam, and that it was a direct consequence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s policy of focusing on North-East region’s development. The fruition of this vision can also be seen in the Bru-Reang agreement signed on January 16, 2020 to end the humanitarian crisis in Meghalaya and Tripura, recent surrender of 644 armed cadres in Assam and surrender of 88 armed NLFT cadres in Tripura to bring them to mainstream, in addition to today’s agreement.
Shah said that Assam’s territorial integrity is assured with this agreement, as every single Bodo group has come on board. He noted that while earlier the states of North East used to feel neglected, Modi government ensured that a Union Minister visited the region every week in order to ensure effective implementation of Government schemes and timely completion of infrastructure projects.
The Home Minister added that this agreement is another success of Prime Minister’s vision of ‘Sab ka Saath, Sab ka Vikas, Sab ka Vishwas’, as with this agreement, Assam’s road to development has been cleared. Ever since assuming office, PM Modi has initiated numerous policy level interventions that have improved infrastructure, connectivity, economic growth, tourism and social development of the region.
Talking on the salient features of the agreement, Shah said that the objective of the MoS is to increase the scope and powers of the BTC and to streamline its functioning; resolve issues related to Bodo people residing outside Bodoland Territorial Area Districts (BTAD); promote and protect Bodo’s social, cultural, linguistic and ethnic identities; providing legislative protection for the land rights of tribals; ensure quick development of tribal areas and rehabilitate members of NDFB factions.
The current agreement proposes to set up a commission under Section 14 of the Sixth Schedule to the Constitution of India, which will recommend the inclusion or exclusion of tribal population residing in villages adjoining BTAD areas. In this commission, besides State government there will be representatives from ABSU and BTC. It will submit its recommendation within six months from the date of notification, it added.
The Government of Assam will establish a Bodo-Kachari Welfare Council as per existing procedure. The Assam government will also notify Bodo language as an associate official language in the state and will set up a separate directorate for Bodo medium schools. The present settlement has proposal to give more legislative, executive, administrative and financial powers to BTC, the statement said.