New Delhi: In a major development, the Centre on Monday signed a historic accord with Assam’s dreaded militant group-the National Democratic Front of Bodoland (NDFB)-thus bringing to an end the decades-long violent movement demanding the separate state of Bodoland, proposed to be carved out of Assam.
The tripartite agreement was signed at the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) between the Centre, the Assam government and the four different factions of the NDFB. The All Bodo Students’ Union (ABSU), which has been spearheading the movement for a separate Bodoland state, too, was a signatory to the accord.
As a part of the agreement, 1,550 militants, with 130 weapons, will surrender on January 30. Those with clean records will be inducted into different paramilitary forces. Also, a compensation of Rs five lakh will be given to the families of those who died in the Bodo movement.
The agreement will also see Bodo becoming the associate official language of Assam. There is also a hefty financial package; while the Assam government would give Rs 250 crore for the development of the region, the Centre too will pay an equivalent amount, thus bringing the total financial package to Rs 1,500 crore. In addition to this, the Centre would expedite ‘hills tribe’ status to Bodo people living in the hill districts of Assam.
Union Home Minister Amit Shah, who signed the accord for the Centre, termed it ‘important,’ adding that it would ensure a ‘golden future’ for Assam as well as the Bodo people. “As the Home Minister, I want to assure all representatives that all promises will be fulfilled in a time-bound manner,” he added.
This is, in fact, the third Bodo Accord to be signed in the last 27 years. While the first Bodo Accord was signed in 1993, the second one was signed in 2003.