While the country, and more precisely Assam and parts of North-East, were witnessing a series of protest demonstrations against the Citizenship Amendment Act-2019 (CAA), thousands of rebels belonged to various ethnic insurgent outfits decided to surrender and join the peace process with the government.
Meanwhile, the signing of an accord with various Bodo groups including armed militants added colour to the celebration of peace in the region. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, while hailing the agreement commented that a new dawn of peace, harmony and progress will herald better days for everyone as members from armed resistance groups would enter the mainstream and contribute to the growth of our great nation.
“Ushering in a new dawn of peace, harmony and togetherness…the accord with Bodo groups, which has been inked today (27 January, 2020) will lead to transformative results for the Bodo people,” said PM Modi in one of his tweets.
The historic Bodo Accord was signed in New Delhi by top leaders of the National Democratic Front of Bodoland (NDFB) in presence of Union Home Minister Amit Shah, Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal, Bodoland Territorial Council (BTC) chief Hagrama Mohilary, All Bodo Students’ Union president Pramod Boro with many others.
PM on North East in Parliament on Feb 6, 2020
- Plight of the Bru refugees was pitiable. Yet, the party which ruled most parts of the North-East for decades and the party that ruled Tripura for decades did nothing about this crisis. It was our Government that had the honour of solving this major problem.
- It was said about the Bodo issue that it hasn't happened for the first time, we haven't also said it happened for the first time. There have been many attempts, some are still underway but whatever happened (earlier), happened keeping politics in mind. The Bodo Accord signed now is special because it has brought all stakeholders together and we are moving towards a more peaceful era. Today a new dawn has also arrived, new light has also arrived. And that light can only be seen when you change your glasses.
- In the last 5 years in the North East, Delhi, which seemed to be far away, is standing at their doorstep today. Whether it is electricity, it is rail, it is airport, mobile connectivity, we have tried to do all this
- How has the situation changed for the North-East! It has had to wait for decades. It was ignored due to the lack of its inability to define political changes. Thus, whenever decisions were taken in the past, the region remained ignored
- For years, distance became a reason to ignore this region. Things have changed now. The North-East is becoming a growth engine. Great work has been done in so many sectors. Ministers and officials are regularly visiting the region
Rajya Sabha member Biswajit Daimary, former RS member Urkha Gwra Brahma, State minister Chandan Brahma, ABSU general secretary Lawrence Islary, former ABSU leader Rwngwra Narzary along with top NDFB leaders like Ranjan Daimary, Gobinda Basumatary, B Saoraigwra, Dhirendra Boro, etc were all present on the occasion.
Shri Amit Shah, while expressed hope that the Accord would ensure a golden future for Bodo people as it would safeguard the Bodo language and culture with adequate political and economic patronage to the community. He also announced Rs 1,500 crore development funds for the BTC authority.
Soon after the signing of Bodo Accord, over 1500 cadres along with top leaders of NDFB surrendered 178 weapons on January 30. State Chief Minister Sonowal commented that the surrender ceremony on the historic day coinciding with the 72nd death anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi would pave a new chapter of peace. Shri Sonowal assured of a comprehensive rehabilitation policy for the rebels for providing employment opportunities very soon.
State senior minister Himanta Biswa Sarma termed the initiative as a great step for the permanent solution to various Bodo issues. He also urged all armed militant outfits including United Liberation Front of Assam (Independent) and Manipur based armed groups to join the peace process. Mentioning about ULFA (I) leader Paresh Baruah, he expressed hope that the outfit would soon come to the negotiation table.
Earlier, on January 23, over 500 armed cadres from various militant outfits laid down their arms. As more as 50 rebels from ULFA(I) along with insurgents from Adivashi Dragon Fighter, National Democratic Front of Bodoland, Kamatapur Liberation Organisation, Rabha National Liberation Front, etc surrendered 177 arms and ammunition with explosive materials to the authority.
Speaking on the occasion, Shri Sonowal commented that building a terrorism-free Assam was one of the main commitments of the present government in Dispur. Peace is a prerequisite for ushering in development and the former militants must contribute towards sustaining peace and harmony in the society, he said.
Referring to PM Modi’s vision and execution of duties, he asked people from all sections in the society to emulate Modi’s dedication towards the objective of making Bharat a strong force at the international stage.
Following the Centre’s Act East Policy initiatives, the State government was undertaking steps to make Guwahati the gateway to South East Asia he asserted adding that lately the local farmers have been able to export their produce to Singapore, Abu Dhabi, Dubai, etc.