NEW DELHI, July 4 - The Centre has revived the Bodo dialogue process after a gap of over one year, with Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh taking fresh initiative to resolve the vexed Bodo problem.
A round of tripartite talks involving the Centre, the Assam government and a joint delegation of the All Bodo Students Union (ABSU) and the People�s Joint Action Committee for Boroland Movement (PJACBM) was held here today where the Home Minister assured that he would personally take charge and keep the dialogue process going.
Singh�s intervention came after the Bodo leaders urged him to nominate a senior Central minister to oversee the negotiations. The Home Minister responded by saying that he would himself take the initiative and see that the dialogue process is not delayed.
The meeting chaired by Singh was attended by Union Home Secretary Rajiv Gauba, Special Secretary (Internal Security) Rina Mittal, Joint Secretary (Northeast) Satyendra Garg, while the Assam government was represented by State Irrigation Minister Bhabesh Kalita, Chief Secretary TY Das, DGP Kuladhar Saikia and Special DG Pallab Bhattacharyya.
The 15-member Bodo delegation included ABSU president Pramod Boro, general secretary Lawrence Islary and PJACBM chief convenor Rakesh Boro, besides former Lok Sabha MP Sansuma Khunggur Bwiswmutiary and former Rajya Sabha MP UG Brahma.
�We want a permanent solution to the Bodo problem. The government has been from time to time inviting us for talks. It was a commitment of the BJP government in 2014 to resolve the problem. But four years have passed and we have not been able to come to a solution,� Pramod Boro said.
�We are happy with the latest initiative of the government... They have assured us that they will consider the demand and hold frequent talks in future. We are hopeful that the Bodo people will be given justice and allowed to maintain their identity,� he added.
Asked if the Centre has revived the tripartite talks because of the general election in 2019, Boro said it is a political issue. �But we don�t know if they have called us with political intentions or for political gains. Our demand is political resolution of the problem. Till a solution is worked out, our agitation will continue,� he said.
Later talking to media persons, minister Kalita, who represented the Assam government, evaded a query on the main demand of the Bodos for creation of a separate state of Bodoland, stating that the Central government has been talking to the Bodo leadership since past several years.
�We are committed to development of all communities in Assam as per the direction of the Prime Minister,� he said, when asked how long the talks would continue in future.
The Bodos have been calling for solution to the Bodoland statehood demand, grant of ST (Hills) status to Bodos living in Karbi Anglong and land and political rights to the Bodos living outside the proposed Bodoland area.