Union Home Minister Amit Shah has assured all possible help from the Central Government for overall development of the Bodoland Territorial Region (BTR) while addressing the first anniversary function of signing of peace accord with all the four factions of the National Democratic Front of Boroland (NDFB) in Kokrajhar on January 24. The Minister pointed out that the signing of the accord with the rebel groups ushered in an era of peace in the BTR and asserted that the BJP-led Government is committed to find a permanent solution to the problem of militancy in the State. The peace accord with all four factions of the NDFB was signed on January 27 last year, which brought an end to militancy in the BTR. This was the third accord signed with the Bodo groups. The first accord was signed by the State Government with the All Bodo Students’ Union (ABSU) in 1993, which led to the creation of the Bodoland Autonomous Council and one militant group – Bodo Volunteer Force – laid down arms in front of the then Union Minister of State for Home, Rajesh Pilot. The second accord was signed with the militant outfit Bodo Liberation Tiger (BLT) in 2003, which led to the creation of the Bodoland Territorial Council (BTC), but the NDFB remained active and kept on fighting for a sovereign Bodoland. Though the NDFB signed a ceasefire agreement with the Central and State governments in 2005, the outfit was divided into four factions and one faction kept on indulging in acts of violence till the signing of the accord with all four factions of the NDFB last year.
While addressing the first anniversary of the signing of the BTR Accord, the Union Home Minister announced that a grant of Rs 500 crore would be given to the Council for development of road communication in the area. This is a positive step, but at the same time, the Government should make it mandatory to get the accounts of the Council audited every year as there have been allegations of corruption in the past. The process of rehabilitation of the leaders and cadres of the NDFB has started, but it is still not clear what will be the fate of those who have cases of heinous crimes against them. The cases against all the cadres are being examined by a high-level committee comprising senior officers of the State Home Department and Police. The Home Minister also made a significant announcement by saying that there would be no discrimination against any community living in the BRT and the language and culture of all indigenous people would be protected. One hopes that the Central and State governments keep a close watch on the situation to ensure that the assurance of the Home Minister is strictly followed so that all sections of people can live without any fear in the area.