Ensure land, civil rights in Bodo area, government urged
With the troubled Kokrajhar district limping back to normalcy, the All Bodo Students' Union (Absu) has requested the state government to take immediate steps for ensuring protection of land and other civil rights to the people in Bodoland Territorial Areas Districts (BTAD).
ABSU president Promod Boro said that competitions over scarce resources are the main reasons behind the current political unrest in the BTAD and the government should take immediate steps to discuss, negotiate and resolve pending political problems to ensure protection of land and other civil rights to the people.
The students' organisation recently held a national seminar on 'Conflict in Bodoland: issue of influx and land alienation in Assam; Problems and perspective' in New Delhi and came out with a set of 12-point recommendations. The suggestions will be handed over to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde, UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi, other central government representatives, heads of all political parties and MPs from the northeast.
Three districts of Assam - Kokrajhar, Chirang and Dhubri - witnessed their worst-ever violence between the Bodos and Bengali-speaking Muslims in July-August this year, leaving over 100 people dead and rendering over four lakh people homeless.
The violence erupted again earlier this month in Kokrajhar and spread to neighbouring Baksa district, killing 11 people, forcing the government to deploy the army and impose indefinite curfew for many days. The situation has, however, improved now and the curfew lifted for last few days.
Boro said he hoped the central government leadership will hold serious discussions on influx and protection of tribal lands in BTAD in parliament to chalk out ways and means to settle the problems in this regard.
"The issue of illegal influx should be considered as a national issue and the process to update the National Register of Citizens (NRC) should be completed before December 2013," he said.
Boro also appealed to the government to implement the existing laws, especially the Chapter X of the Assam Land and Revenue Regulation Act, 1886, for protection of tribal belts and blocks across the state and also to initiate legal action against those who had violated the law.
The ABSU, in the drafted recommendations, also mentioned issuance of short term work permits (work visas) to those who seek to enter the northeastern states from Bangladesh and other countries, and said this would not only help prevent illegal migration from the neighbouring countries but also document all cross-border movements.