Guwahati, March 15 2017 – The All Bodo Students’ Union (ABSU) on Wednesday called off its six-day-old hunger strike to press for a separate Bodoland for the Bodo people living in the state.
The ABSU decision to call off the agitation came after the BJP-led government in Assam sent a letter assuring that the government would hold tripartite talks at the political level with it before April 14 this year to look into the organisation’s demand for a separate state. “We have decided to call off the stir after the state government assured us to hold a political-level tripartite talk before April 14 this year. However, our agitation is not over and we are going to achieve our rights,” said ABSU President Promod Bodo.
He said that the organisation had also chalked out next phase of agitation programme from April 1 this year, including blocking of national highways in the state, if the government did not pay heed to their demands. “We are going to wait and see the response of the government over our demands till April 14. We have told the government that the talks must be held on the issue of statehood only, as the separate state is a right of the Bodos living in Assam,” the Bodo leader said. ABSU had been spearheading the statehood movement demanding a separate state for the Bodo people on the line of Telengana.
Promod Bodo said that several rounds of talks had taken place during the previous Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government’s tenure.
However, nothing was done to fulfill their demands. “Before the 2014 Lok Sabha election in 2014, the BJP had assured us to fulfil our demands if they came to power. The BJP also included the assurance in their election manifesto. However, once the BJP formed the government at the Centre, they forgot their assurance,” said Promod Bodo, adding that this had left the organisation with no option but to continue its movement.
He said that the ABSU had met Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal several times and reminded him about the assurance of the BJP before the polls. “But, nothing has happened so far. We have failed to understand what the government wants. We have been raising our demands in a peaceful way but it seems government has ear only for violence,” he said.