Assam chief minister appeals ULFA (I) to return mainstream on Republic Day
CM Himanta Biswa Sarma

Tezpur: The inclusion of 60 villages in the Bodoland Territorial Region (BTR) seems to be dividing people into ethnic lines, with Bodo leaders welcoming the move while non-Bodos hitting the streets in protest.  

Pramod Boro, the Chief Executive Member of the Bodoland Territorial Council (BTC), welcomed the inclusion of 60 villages in the BTR.

The BTR currently comprises four districts: Kokrajhar, Baksa, Chirang and Udalguri. 

“Indeed, a matter of immense joy and celebration as HCM Dr. Himanta Biswa Sarma has announced major decision towards the implementation of the clause of BTR peace accord. It will help to create a permanent peaceful environment in BTR,” Boro said.

“By announcing the inclusion of 60 villages in the BTR area, the Assam Chief Minister has implemented the clause of the BTR peace accord,” Boro added. 

Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma had, on the occasion of the 74th Republic Day, announced that the BTR will be extended to include 60 villages of five assembly constituencies of Sonitpur district. “Sixty villages in Dhekiajuli, Behali, Sootea, Gohpur, and Biswanath, with 80 per cent or more Bodo population, will be included in the BTR. It is as part of its commitment to implement the Tripartite Bodo Accord signed in January 2020 for permanent peace in the Bodoland region,” he added.  

The CM also announced an ex-gratia of Rs 5 lakh for the 2001 martyrs who sacrificed their lives for the cause of the Bodo people. 

However, this did not go down well with several non-Bodo people. A stretch on the national highway connecting Assam’s Sonitpur district with Arunachal Pradesh was blocked for a brief period by people to protest against the inclusion of some villages in the Bodoland Territorial Region.

The blockade on NH-211 was made between Bhalukpong and Balipara in the district for around an hour, disrupting traffic movement, a senior police officer said. Hundreds of people belonging to non-Bodo communities gathered outside the office of the Chariduar revenue circle officer and gheraoed it, he said. They demanded that there be no inclusion of non-Bodo majority areas in the BTR.

The agitators protested against the announcement made by Assam CM Himanta Biswa Sarma during his Republic Day speech the previous day.

Sootea MLA Padma Hazarika rushed to the spot and explained to the protestors that the decision was taken only for villages with over 80 per cent Bodo population.

He clarified that villages that do not have a majority of the Bodo population are not being transferred to the BTR.

On receiving the assurance from the legislator, the protestors dispersed peacefully from the area, the police officer said.

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