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Bodoland campaigners block highways in Assam


Several organisations led by the All Bodo Students’ Union (ABSU) on Tuesday blocked national highways at several points in Assam to restart the movement for creation of a separate Bodo state.

Hundreds of members of ABSU and other groups gathered in various districts and blocked highways for five hours starting from 6 a.m., affecting movement of vehicular traffic across the state.

At least seven national highways across Kokrajhar, Chirang, Biswanath and Goalpara districts were blocked for five hours.

The blockade affected the movement of trucks, particularly those carrying essential foodstuff and other goods to Assam and other parts of the north-eastern region.

"We have been agitating for the last several years demanding a separate state for the Bodos," ABSU President Promod Boro said.

He said the BJP-led governments at the centre and the state have not done anything to fulfil the demands of the Bodos.

"The central government said it would fulfil our demands before they came to power in 2014. The BJP had also promised to look into this demand in their manifesto. That’s why we suspended the movement for two years."

"However, the governments at Delhi and Dispur (Assam capital) are forcing us to agitate again to demand our legitimate right," Boro said.

He said the government led by Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal came to power on the promise that land rights and political rights of the indigenous people would be safeguarded.

"However, the government has not done anything so far to fulfil the demands of the Bodo people in Assam," said Boro.

He said the ABSU has decided to organise a ‘Road Close’ programme in September this year and a Railway Line Blockade in October.

"If the government does not pay heed to our demands, we are going to organise a Maha Rally in New Delhi in November to put pressure on it," he said.