[Polity] Assam Riots and Bodo Accord : History, Reasons, Problems, SolutionsDevendra Vishwakarma
- What is Bodoland Territorial Council ?
- Timeline of Events
- How did the Kokrajhar riots start?
- Why situation out of control?
- Why resentment in the communities?
- What’s the problem in Bodo Accord?
- What is the solution?
What is Bodoland Territorial Council ?
- 2003: Bodo militants lay down the arms and want to join mainstream. They sign agreement with Government, known as “Bodo Accord”.
- A Bodoland Territorial Council (BTC) was established under this Bodo Accord.
- And Bodoland Territorial Areas District (BTAD) was created under the sixth schedule of the Constitution of India, as part of this accord to look after the Administrative and Development needs of these Bodo dominated areas.
- Bodoland Territorial Areas District (BTAD) covers 4 districts of Assam:
- Chirang and
- Udalguri. (Total 35% area of Assam.)
|1980s and 90s||
How did the Kokrajhar riots start?
- Kokrajhar is a city in assam. [Name of its district is also Kokrajhar].
- It is the HQ of Bodo Territorial Council.
- Since past few months, The minority student unions and non-Bodo tribes began demands for greater representation in the Bodoland Territorial Council (BTC).
- On July 6, two Muslim youths were shot at. Public suspected the Bodos.
- Nearly a fortnight later, Someone murdered an ex-member of Bodoland Liberation Tigers (BLT) and his 3 friends. Then riots started in retailiation.
Why situation out of control?
Main reason: Delay in Army Deployment: Bureaucratic Red Tape at its worst.
- Section 130 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) empowers an executive magistrate [e.g. District collector, Deputy Collector, SDM] to seek army troops to contain riots.
- But the request for army deployment to tackle riots has to be routed through the Defence Ministry.
- The Kokrajhar district administration had requested for army deployment on July 20 and the army was deployed only on July 25 because the local army commanders did not accept the requests saying they need an order from the Ministry of Defence, after which Assam Chief Secretary had to approach Defence Secretary.
- Otherwise, Army troops could have reached the trouble spots within three to four hours as two major army stations, including a full Mountain Division, are located within a distance of 150 kms from Kokrajhar.
- Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi had said that the army presence from day one would have prevented the “unprecedented crisis” and loss of so many lives.
- At least 57 people were killed in the violence which rendered 5.02 lakh people homeless during the week-long mayhem.
- Now, the Home Ministry has asked the Defence Ministry to amend its Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) so that the army can be deployed the moment such a request comes from the civil administration.
|Non Bodos and Muslims||
What’s the problem in Bodo Accord?
- The Bodo Accord, seeks to protect the land rights of the indigenous Bodos while allowing settler Muslims (both legal and illegal) to freely acquire land at the same time.
- The Bangladeshi migrants easily sneak in the area, illegally procure relevant documents like ration cards to establish Indian nationality.
- Taking advantage of the provisions in the BTC Act, such migrants are freely procuring land in the BTAD, which only adds to the woes of indigenous Bodos.
- Both sides are demanding the review / revocation of BTC act because on one hand, Bodos feel their rights are not protected and on the other hand, Non-bodos feel that Bodos are getting way too many benefits.
What is the solution?
Clashes between Bodos and Non-Bodos are nothing new in the Kokrajhar area.