The Accord That Portends Discord
The proof of the pudding is in the eating. Will last week’s agreement between the Centre and the Bodo Liberation Tigers (BLT) on an autonomous administrative structure for the Bodos work on the ground? The agreement is certainly an improvement on the 1993 Bodo Accord. It envisages a 46-member Bodoland Territorial Council (BTC) under the provisions of the amended Sixth Schedule of the Constitution, which will administer 3,082 villages in western Assam’s Bodo belt. More importantly, the council will have adequate financial powers to allocate funds and the Centre has guaranteed a grant of Rs 500 crore spread over five years.
Although the blt has been won over, another militant outfit, the National Democratic Front of Bodoland (NDFB), is still underground and could prove to be major stumbling block in the implementation of the accord. There is also the fear of discrimination plaguing the substantial non-Bodo population in these parts, though Rajya Sabha MP Urkhao Gwra Brahma told Outlook: “That we have accepted all constitutional safeguards is enough indication of the fact that we don’t have any intention of causing harm to non-Bodos.”