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Is BTC left to burn again?

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By Debananda Medak

GUWAHATI: After the signing of the Bodoaland Territorial Region (BTR) Accord on January 27, it was anticipated that the long awaited peace and prosperity will return to the people residing in the Bodoland Territorail Area Districts. The driving force of that notion was the disbanding of all the National Bodoland Democratic Front (NDFB) factions that marked the end of armed conflicts prevailed in the region for years.   

However, despite the signing of the BTR Accord, the BTC is undergoing political instability in two major grounds – the scheduled area has been under the Governor’s rule ever since April, 2020. Hence, demanding the end of the Governor’s rule in BTC, the Hagrama Mohilary-led Bodoland People’s Party (BPF) has launched its indefinite street protests and torch march across BTAD from Wednesday.

Former Executive Member of the BTC and a BPF candidate for the ensuing Council polls, Dhaneswar Goyary said, “Torch march and protest will continue across BTAD until the date for the ensuing Council polls is announced. We do not want Governor’s rule in BTC.”

At the same time, Kokrajhar MP Naba Kumar Sarania-led Gana Suraksha Party (GSP) and other non-Bodo communities of BTC also burnt tyres in various parts of BTAD in protest against the implementation of the BTR Accord. GSP adviser Brojen Mahanta said, “The implementation of the BTR Accord is one-sided. It has threatened the rights and privileges of the indigenous non-Bodo communities residing in BTC.” He asserted that the protest will continue until the grievances and issues of the non-Bodos are addressed and resolved.   

Under this given situation, the BTC has been burning in one hand for demanding immediate election while on the other; the region has been burning demanding not to implement the BTR Accord.  The question remains, is the BTC left to burn again?

Recently, the state government of Assam wrote a letter to the Election Commission of India and announced that in view of the Covid-19 pandemic situation prevailing in the state, the bye-elections for Sivasagar and Rangapara assembly constituencies and the BTC cannot be conducted.     

The five-year term of the BTC expired on April 27. The elections to the council, scheduled on April 4, were deferred because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Accordingly, Assam’s Governor Jagdish Mukh had on April 27 assumed to himself the administration of the BTC that administers the BTAD.

Mohilary had been the Chief Executive Member (CEM) of the Council since its creation in 2003 until its dissolution.

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