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Last Faction Of NDFB In Assam Signs Peace Pact: Why It's A Significant Development?

According To The Agreement, The NDFB -- Under The Leadership Of Its 'president' B Saoraigwra -- Will Shun Violence And Join In Peace Dialogues With The Government.

By : Aniruddha Dhar | Updated on: 17 Jan 2020, 10:27:05 PM
The Image of some of the top leaders of NDFB-S released by police.

The Image of some of the top leaders of NDFB-S released by police. (Photo Credit: File )

New Delhi:

In one of the most significant developments in Northeast in recent times, the last faction of the National Democratic Front of Boroland or NDFB, an insurgent group active in Assam, has signed an agreement with the government for suspension of operations. According to the agreement, the NDFB -- under the leadership of its 'president' B Saoraigwra -- will shun violence and join in peace dialogues with the government.

The tripartite agreement was signed by representatives of the NDFB-S and the central and Assam governments. On January 11, a group of active members, including 'general secretary' Saoraigwra, of the NDFB-S were brought back from Myanmar on January 11. Other members included its 'general secretary', 'commander-in-chief' and 'finance secretary'. The group carried 25 weapons, more than 50 magazines, more than 900 assorted ammunition and communication equipment with them. Four family members also accompanied the group.

Why is this a significant development?

  • NDFB-S was active in Myanmar along with other Northeast insurgent groups. They had formed a joint platform namely United National Liberation Front of Western South East Asia along with NSCN-K and ULFA faction headed by Paresh Baruah.
  • The NDFB-S was the only active Bodo insurgent group operating in Assam with the demand for a separate Bodo state.
  • If the agreement goes according to its plan, while keeping intact the territorial integrity of Assam, it should be seen as a massive achievement of the Narendra Modi government because it might see improvement in the law-and- order situation in the state.

Demand for separate state

  • The NDFB has been demanding a separate state for the Bodos in Assam for the last five decades.
  • Several Bodo overground and terror groups have similar demand that led to agitations, protests and bloody violence across the state.
  • In 1993 and 2003, pacts were signed to resolve the long-pending issue. A Bodo Territorial Council under Sixth Schedule of the Constitution was created in 2003 to meet political, developmental and identity-related aspirations of the Bodos.
  • But the demand for Bodoland state continued despite opposition by non-Bodo groups in the state.

History of NDFB

The NDFB’s current name was adopted in 1994 after its members rejected the Bodo Accord signed between the Government of India and All Bodo Students Union and Bodo Peoples Action Committee (ABSU-BPAC).

It traces its origin to the Bodo Security Force (BSF), an outfit formed in October 3, 1986.

The organisation split into two outfits -- one headed by Ranjan Daimary (also known as Nabla) called NDFB-R and the other by Gobinda Basumatary, which is known as NDFB-P – after the serial blasts by the NDFB in Assam on October 30, 2008.

The NDFB-S led by a non-Bodo, IK Sangbijit, came into being when the group split further in 2012.

The NDFB-P or the progressive faction supported peace talks with the government, while the NDFB-R opposed to it. However, in 2013 the NDFB-R also agreed to the talks after Daimary was released from jail.

However, in a setback to the NDFB-P, Daimary was sentenced to life imprisonment by a special court in 2019 for his involvement in the serial blast which killed 88 people and left more than 500 injured.

The NDFB-S came existence after the faction led by Songbijit was dissolved during a general assembly of the NDFB-R in 2015.

The NDFB was in conflict with the Bodo Liberation Tiger (BLT), which had entered into an agreement with the government in 2003 leading to the creation of the Bodoland Territorial Council (BTC).

The BLT members went on to form a political party - Bodo Peoples' Front which is now an ally of the ruling BJP in the state.

The NDFB after its creation had initially targeted adivasis, but since 2000, it has increasingly attacked Bangladeshi migrants in areas it claims to be Bodo territory.

(With PTI inputs)

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First Published : 17 Jan 2020, 10:19:55 PM