EVERY step towards peace in the Bodo region is welcome, and in that spirit, the Bodo Accord has been backed by all Bodo factions and has also met with support by many in Assam. However, there are several apprehensions and questions that cannot be ignored.
The terms of the Accord raise concerns about the rights of the non-Bodos in the BTAC areas. This is especially the case when the elected MP from the concerned constituency was reportedly not taken into confidence over the Accord. Clause 8 of the Bodo Accord grants ST (H) (hill tribe) status to Bodo people living in Karbi Anglong and Dima Hasao. This will adversely affect the existing ST (H) people of the Hills Districts.
A question that must be asked is: why has the ruling BJP ignored the anti CAA movement sweeping Assam, and also other long standing movements such as the Karbi Anglong movement demanding autonomous statehood, and chosen to deal only with Bodo groups separately? The attempt seems to be to divide the anti CAA movement and continue to rule.
The Accord also promises to ‘review’ cases against militants who have been charged with or convicted of heinous crimes. The implication is cases of those convicted of bomb blasts and charged with massacres of Muslims in the BTAC areas will be ‘reviewed’. It is disturbing that the BJP Government thinks that it has the power to ‘review’ and pardon terrorism and hate crimes. Justice must not be compromised in the name of an accord.