The movement for creating a separate Bodo Kochari Autonomous Council (BKAC) has been intensified in Assam.
The United Bodo Peoples’ Organization (UBPO) organized a mass rally at Simenchapori in Dhemaji district on Tuesday to pressurize the government to create a separate council for the Bodos who live outside BTAD.
The rally was participated by more than 10,000 members of the Bodo community from Dhemaji, Lakhimpur, Dibrugarh, Tinsukia and Choraideo districts of Assam.
The protesters assembled at S.B. Bodo High School playground and shouted slogans waving posters and festoons in support of their demand.
The UBPO and allied Bodo organizations have been demanding a council for socio-economic development of the Bodo people living in 21 Assam districts outside the BTAD.
It may be mentioned that the Bodoland Territorial Area Districts (BTAD), an autonomous region, administered by the Bodoland Territorial Council (BTC), came into existence under the Bodo Accord in 2003.
BTAD consists of four districts – Kokrajhar, Udalguri, Baksa and Chirang.
Addressing the rally, UBPO general secretary Anil Basumatary said, “We have been moving the state government and the Centre for creation of BKAC for the Bodo-Kochari people living outside the BTAD since 2014.”
“But even after repeated assurances, the government is yet to fulfil our demand,” Basumatary added.
“The BJP top brass of the state assured creation of BKAC during the last state Assembly election, but they have forgotten it after coming to power,” he said.
“With the help of the people of our community, we will take a warpath if the government continues to neglect our genuine demand,” Basumatary added.
Basumatary also lamented that the UBPO earlier submitted eight-point ‘charter of demands’ to the state government, which is also left unsolved for years.
The demands include land patta for the indigenous Bodo-Kochari families, employment opportunities for the community youths and inclusion of Bodo-Kochari people living within the jurisdiction of Karbi Anglong and Dima Hasao autonomous districts in the ST(Hills) list as per provisions of Bodo Accord 2003.
UBPO vice-president Ratan Basumatary in his speech criticized the role being played by Hagrama Basumatray-led Bodoland People’s Front (BPF), which is a partner in the BJP-led coalition government.
Ratan Basumatary alleged that the BPF leaders are also not paying keen interest towards their demands fearing loss of power.
He warned that the Bodo-Kochari people would boycott the next state Assembly election if their demand for creation of a separate autonomous council is not fulfilled.
The speakers in the rally highlighted that around 10 lakh Bodo–Kochari people are living in 21 districts outside BTAD.
On October 31 this year, the UBPO with the help of other organizations of the community staged dharna in the headquarters of many district and sub-divisions demanding creation of BKAC.