TEZPUR, March 5 � The Sonitpur district unit of the All Bodo Students� Union (ABSU) and the people living in and around the Sonai-Rupai Sanctuary (SRS) area in the district have slammed public activist Prof Deven Dutta for his comment on the Bodo community made in a press meet in Guwahati on March 2 last.
In a statement, ABSU Sonitpur district president Tepuram Boro said that Prof Dutta has hurt the sentiment of the people living in the area for years by terming them as encroachers.
The ABSU staged a protest programme on Monday against the comment by Dutta at Batachipur area. The protesters, numbering around 30,000, raised slogan against Dutta and demanded implementation of the Forest Rights Act 2006, etc.
It may be mentioned here that the public activist had said that the Sonai-Rupai Sanctuary has been denuded by the encroachers (Boro people) with the help of extremists and turned to an agricultural field.
�The lands adjacent to the Sonai-Rupai Sanctuary falls under the Balipara Tribal Belt and has been inhabited by the Nepalese, Adivashis and the aboriginal Boro people since ages. The comment that the Forest Department, bowing to the diktat of the militants�, does not take any action against the Bodos but only against non-Bodos living in the vicinity of the SOS, is nothing but shameful and very unfortunate,� Tepuram Boro said and added that some so-called intellectuals, like Deven Dutta, have been seen siding with the non-Bodos over the years and commenting without delving into the ground reality.
The ABSU leader further said that the Assam government should immediately take administrative and legal measures to implement the ST (OTFD) Forest Rights and Recognition Act 2006, which has been implemented only partially. The 6th Schedule areas, including the Golai-Jiabari and Batachipur areas in Sonitpur district are beyond the scope of the Act, he claimed.
�If Prof Dutta does not withdraw his comment, we will launch a vigorous movement and if any untoward incident occurs, he will be responsible for it,� the press statement by Tepuram Boro added.