Over 1600 cadres from Assam’s NDFB lay down arms at Guwahati


Three days after the Union government signed a peace accord with different Bodo groups, 1,615 cadres of the National Democratic Front of Bodoland (NDFB) on Thursday laid down arms in Guwahati.

Reportedly, 1,615 cadres of all the four factions of the National Democratic Front of Bodoland (NDFB) surrendered their arms. In all, 178 sophisticated weapons and explosives were also deposited on this occasion.

The event was held at the Guwahati Medical College Hospital (GMCH) Auditorium today. Assam CM Sarbanand Sonowal, minister Himanta Biswa Sarma, and many police personnel were present in the ceremony.

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On Monday, the Government of India had signed a historic tripartite agreement with representatives of all factions of banned organisation National Democratic Front of Bodoland (NDFB) and the Assam government.

Four factions of the NDFB were among the signatories to the tripartite agreement that sought a permanent solution to the Bodo issue. The Bodo students group All Bodo Students’ Union was also a signatory of the peace accord.

As per the agreement, the Memorandum of Settlement (MoS) with Bodo groups will pave the way for the reorganisation of areas under the Bodoland Territorial Council (BTC) region, enhance the powers of the BTC, increase Assembly seats from 40 to 60, rehabilitate surrendered militants of NDFB.

The agreement will also address concerns of Bodos living outside the BTC area, and promises to increase their representation in the state police and paramilitary forces. As per the peace accord, a financial package of Rs 1,500 crore will be given for the development of the Bodoland Territorial Region in the next three years.

Home Minister Amit Shah described it as the “final and comprehensive solution” of the long-standing Bodo issue. “Today, with this agreement, a permanent solution has been found for a problem that has cost the region 4,007 lives. The Bodo movement was peaceful in the beginning but became violent in 1986. A peace agreement was signed in 2003, but all groups were not on board. This time, all groups are here. This is an extension of that agreement,” he had said.

The recently signed tripartite pact was the third Bodo Accord signed in last 27 years. The violent movement for a separate Bodoland state took hundreds of lives. The first Bodo Accord was signed with the All Bodo Students Union, ABSU and Bodo People’s Action Committee in 1993.

In 2003, the second Bodo Accord was signed with the militant outfit Bodo Liberation Tigers, leading to the formation of the Bodoland Territorial Council, BTC consisting of four districts. The Assam Government has assured that the new treaty would not hamper the interest of the non-Bodo people staying in the BTC area.

Bodos are the single largest community among the notified Scheduled Tribes in Assam. Part of the larger umbrella of Bodo-Kachari, the Bodos constitute about 5-6% of Assam’s population.

After successfully signing an agreement with the Bodos, On Tuesday, the Assam government has also appealed to insurgents in Assam and Manipur, including the United Liberation Front of Assam – Independent (ULFA-I), to come on board for talks, saying it would usher peace and progress in the two states.

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