India’s federal government on Monday reached an agreement with a banned militant group of the Bodo tribe of Assam, Democratic Front of Bodoland (NDFB) – a deal which would offer them political and economic leverage sans their prime demand for a state of their own dubbed “Bodoland”.
As a result, a tripartite agreement was signed between the federal government, the provincial Assam government, and the NDFB. The All Bodo Students' Union (ABSU) which spearheaded the agitation for a separate state for Bodos, is also a signatory to the pact.
India’s federal Home Minister Amit Shah has assured representatives of NDFB that all promises stipulated in the pact would be fulfilled in a timely manner
“Today Assam is united. 1,550 cadres along with 130 weapons will surrender on 30th January – Mahatma Gandhi’s death anniversary", said Shah.
“In three years, a $211 million (Rs 1,500 crore) financial package will be given for Bodo Territorial Council. Assam and the federal government is committed for rehabilitation of NDFB cadres. The families of those killed in the Bodo movement will get half-a-million (Rs 5 lakh) each", he added.
Assam’s Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said the pact has affirmed the territorial integrity of the state.
Meanwhile, Somnath, President United People’s Party (Liberal), told Sputnik, “We believe this agreement would bring peace, harmony and inclusive development. This agreement is not only for Bodos but for every tribe in the region".
Somnath further said although the demand for a separate Bodoland was not agreed upon, most of the demands have been accepted by the government of India. “The government of India has done a good job", he added.
Bodos, the earliest settlers in Assam, are the largest ethnic group of northeast India with 1.3 million people. The Bodo insurgency began in 1947 with the demand for better social, political and economic conditions, as they claimed they were neglected by the non-tribal population of Assam.