GUWAHATI, Jan 8 - The Sanmilita Janagosthiya Aikya Mancha, an umbrella organization of several non-Bodo bodies, has demanded that the ongoing process of negotiation with the leaders of the Bodo organizations on the issue of a separate Bodoland should end once and for all.
It also demanded urgent steps for announcing panchayat elections in the Bodoland Territorial Area District (BTAD) prior to the 2016 Assembly elections.
The Mancha further called for a roundtable conference of the representatives of all the non-Bodo and Bodo organizations to find out an alternative mechanism to the issue of tribal autonomy.
The members of the Mancha held a three-hour sit-in demonstration from 11 am on Wednesday on the banks of the Dighalipukhuri in support of their demands and submitted a memorandum listing their demands on the issue of a separate Bodoland, to the Governor of the State.
Speaking to this newspaper, the chief convenor of the Mancha, Brajen Mahanta said that instead of holding talks with the leaders of the Bodo organizations on a separate Bodoland issue, leaders of other ethnic organizations representing the non-Bodo people of the BTAD areas should also be involved to find out an alternative mechanism for resolution of the issue of tribal autonomy.
He further said that there is an amendment effected to the Panchayati Raj Act, which provides for panchayat elections in the Sixth Schedule areas.
The Panchayati Raj system in the BTAD area has become mandatory because devolution of power to the grassroot level has not become possible with the Sixth Schedule political arrangements under the Bodoland Territorial Council (BTC).
Mahanta also demanded immediate publication of the report of the Justice MBK Singh on the 2012 ethnic clashes in the BTAD areas.