Prelims Level
Mains Level
Prelims Syllabus : Governance Mains Syllabus : GS-II Linkages between Development and spread of Extremism

Why in News?

  • In a significant step to end violence, a tripartite agreement has been signed by the Bodo led by National Democratic Bodo Front, Union government and State government of Assam.
  • This agreement will pave the way for reorganization of Bodoland Territorial Administrative District into wider Bodoland Territorial Region.

Background:

  • Assam is a hot-bed of regionalism and sub-regionalism as result of pluralistic nature of the society comprising of various ethnicities.
  • Assam consists of Bramhaputra valley dominated by Assamese speaking populace and Cachar region dominated by Bengali-speaking people.
  • As a result, ethnicity-based imbalances in a plural but fragmented society has led to assertion of sub-regional identities hinging on issues like control over land, exploitation of resources from outsiders, unemployment and lack of development etc.
  • Bodoland represents one such ethnicity-based regionalistic undercurrent in Assam society.

Bodoland Issue in brief:

  • Bodos are plain-dwelling tribes, with a distinct ethnicity and language’, inhabiting the Bramhaputra valley in western Assam.
  • In 1962 Assamese was declared the official language of Assam and was made medium of instruction in the universities. Fearing the dominance of Assamese speaking populace, Bodos have been asserting their identity for a separate state Bodoland since 1970s.
  • The demand was to create Bodoland carving out Kokrajhar, Dhubri, Bongaigaon, Barpeta, Nalbari, Kamrup, Darang and Sonitpur districts of Assam.
  • However, it should be noted that the Bodos are divided from within which has led to violent insurgent movements and consequent communal clashes.

Violent movements and formation of Bodoland Territorial Area District:

  • This movement got fillip after the Assam Accord was signed in 1985. Accordingly the Bodoland movement with the slogan “divide Assam 50-50” was launched in 1987 under the leadership of All Bodo Students’ Union.
  • In addition, a violent separatist movement was also launched at the time led by Bodoland Security Force.
  • Responding to the Bodoland Movement, the Assam government signed Bodo Accord in 1993 leading to the creation Bodoland Autonomous Council.
  • Inspite of signing the accord, due to intra-factional differences the issue was not resolved and violent movement continued to exis spearheaded by National Democratic Bodoland Force.
  • Another attempt at inducing peace was made in 2003 when Bodo Territorial Area District was carved out under the 6thSchedule with 4 districts namely Kokrajhar, Chirang, Baksa and Udalguri.
  • However this has also not resolved the issue.

Why this issue could not be Resolved:

  • The Bodo Territorial Area District is inhabited by
  1. 1.Bodos who constitute 30%
  2. 2.Non-Bodos including Muslims, Assamese and Bengali Hindus, Koch Rajbongshis and Adivasis who together constitute 70%.
  • As a result whenever there have been attempts to reconcile with Bodos (1993 and 2003), the other groups have not responded.
  • There has also been an issue of exclusion of nearby Bodo inhabited regions into the Bodo Territorial Council. (Exclusion Factor).
  • This has resulted in worst communal clashes between Bodos and Non-Bodos frequently.

The Tripartite agreement: Bodo Peace Accord 2020:

  • The current Peace Accord will reorganize the present Bodoland Territorial Area District into a wider Bodoland Territorial Region.
  • The Bodoland Territorial Region will include Bodo-dominated villages presently outside the BTAD and will exclude the areas dominated by non-Bodo population.
  • Amnesty to National Democratic Bodoland Force (NDFB).
  • A sports university and job-oriented Higher-Education Institution
  • Besides Bodos living in the hills would be granted Scheduled Hill Tribe status.

Concern with this New Treaty:

  • The main problem with the current Peace Accord is that the negotiations included only 4 faction of Bodos.
  • The non-Bodo stakeholders in Bodoland Territorial Administrative districts including Adivasis, Koch Rajbongshis etc. have been excluded. Denying the benefits which have been given to them will create discontent among them, which may develop into violence again.
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