History of Bodo Accord
- The government of India has been signed three agreements with Bodo tribes so far for 27 years. Several clashes between extremists’ groups of Assam and the government have claimed hundreds of lives.
- The All Bodo Students Union (ABSU) and the Government of India have signed the first accord in 1993. This agreement resulted to the creation of a Bodoland Autonomous Council with some political powers.
- The second Bodo accord was signed in 2003 between Government of India and extremist group Bodo Liberation Tigers (BLT).
- The second agreement resulted to the formation of Bodoland Territorial Council (BTC) with four districts – Udalguri, Chirang, Baska and Kokrajhar. These areas are commonly called Bodoland Territorial Area District (BTAD).
- The BTAD and other areas mentioned under the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution have been exempted from the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2019.
About Bodoland Territorial Council (BTC)
Bodoland Territorial Council (BTC) was constituted to look after issues of Bodo tribes like education, horticulture and forests. However, police, general administration and revenue are controlled by the Government of Assam. The BTC was established under the 6th Schedule of the Indian Constitution.
What is Bodoland Movement?
The Bodo people are the largest tribe of Assam settled in the northern part of the Brahmaputra river valley. These tribes claimed themselves as natives of the Assam. According to an estimate, the Bodo tribe is about 28 percent of Assam’s population. The Bodo tribe has been complaining that their land in Assam was occupied by other cultures and communities with different identities. In 1966 the Bodo tribals formed the Plains Tribal Council of Assam (PTCA) and demanded a separate union territory Udayachal.
The Bodo movement started witnessing violence post-1980s.
Now, this movement divided into three streams.
- The first group NDFB is demanding for a separate state for itself.
- The second group Bodo Liberation Tiger (BLT) is demanding greater autonomy and targeted non-Bodo groups.
- The third group All Bodo Students Union (ABSU) is looking for more political powers and involvement in state administration.
Comprehensive Bodo Settlement Agreement
- The MHA, the Assam government and the Bodo groups have signed an agreement to redraw and rename the Bodoland Territorial Area District (BTAD) in Assam, currently spread over four districts of Kokrajhar, Chirang, Baksa and Udalguri.
- Several Bodo groups led have been demanding a separate land for the ethnic community since 1972, a movement that has claimed nearly 4,000 lives.
Highlights of the Agreement
- As per the agreement, villages dominated by Bodos that were presently outside the BTAD would be included and those with non-Bodo population would be excluded.
- Bodos living in the hills would be conferred a Scheduled Hill Tribe status.
- The BTAD is to be renamed as the Bodoland Territorial Region (BTR).
Rehabilitation and relief
- The criminal cases registered against members of the NDFB factions for “non-heinous” crimes shall be withdrawn by the Assam government and in cases of heinous crimes it will be reviewed.
- A Special Development Package of Rs. 1500 Crore would be given by the Centre to undertake specific projects for the development of Bodo areas.
A separate Commission
- It proposes to set up a commission under Section 14 of the Sixth Schedule to the Constitution which will recommend the inclusion or exclusion of tribal population residing in villages adjoining BTAD areas.
- In this commission, besides State government, there will be representatives from ABSU and BTC. It will submit its recommendation within six months.
Changes in Legislature
- The total number of Assembly seats will go up to 60, from the existing 40.
- The present settlement has a proposal to give more legislative, executive, administrative and financial powers to BTC.
Bodo as an official language
- The Assam government will also notify Bodo language as an associate official language in the state and will set up a separate directorate for Bodo medium schools.
- Bodo with Devnagri script would be the associate official language for the entire Assam.
Significance of the agreement
- The signing of the agreement would “end the 50-year-old Bodo crisis.”
- Around 1500 cadres of BODO militant factions will be rehabilitated by Centre and Assam Government.