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Bodos on hunger-strike decline medical help

By The Assam Tribune

KOKRAJHAR (ASSAM), March 12 (IANS): On the third day of their hunger strike to press for a separate state for the community, the Bodos on Sunday said they would not accept any medical aid until the government accepts their long-pending demands.

"It has been decided that despite deteriorating health of many protestors, we won't take any medical help. Both the Centre and the Assam government need to address the Bodo issue immediately," said a statement issued jointly by the Bodo groups leading the huger strike.

The All Bodo Students Union (ABSU), National Democratic Front of Bodoland-(Progressive) and the People Joint Action Committee for Bodoland Movement (PJACBM) are together holding the indefinite period hunger-strike.

The groups have alleged that the governments are deliberately staying away from taking up the separate state demand so that the Bodoland issue dies down.

"Since the movement has started, the government of India is seen to be playing truant, not conceding the separate state demand for Bodos," said ABSU President Pramod Bodo.

Over 2,000 people participated in the hunger strike in Kokrajhar and other parts of the Bodo Territorial Area Districts (BTAD), which also include Chirang, Baksha and Udalguri.

The Bodo groups also threatened economic blockade on the lines of the Manipur economic blockade.

According to the Bodo communities, the Bodo Territorial Council (BTC) -- formed to give autonomy to the Bodo people under the Sixth schedule (Amended) of the Constitution -- has several shortcomings in terms of executing the monetary schemes of the central government for the welfare of the Bodo people.

The Bodo groups have also alleged that the BTC government in BTAD is not in a position to do overall development.

Thousands of people from various parts of the state assembled at the venue to mark their support to and solidarity with the hunger strikers.

"This time Bodos will not fall prey to any diplomatic moves unless a comprehensive political dialogue on the long-pending issue of Bodoland is called," said Bodo.

The NDFB-Progressive said despite shunning arms and joining peace talks on the demand for Bodoland on the government's plea, there is no positive response from the government.

"It is very shameful on the part of the government that there is no policy decision for amicable solution to our demands," said Dhiren Bodo, Chairman of NDFB-Progressive.

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