Bodoland Territorial Council chief Pramod Boro stated that the administration has taken a monumental decision of rehabilitating displaced communities of Santhals, Bodos, and Bengal-speaking Muslims.
According to reports, over 2.5 lakh people from these communities were displaced since 1996 in separate incidents of violence including Bodo-Santhal conflicts and militants’ violence in West Assam.
“The BTC has decided to take back the displaced Bodos, Santhals, and others to their villages within the next three months. Some of the displaced people had been sheltered in relief camps for the past 25 years while others had relocated somewhere else,” Pramod Bodo was quoted as saying in an IANS report.
He said that the areas of Chirang, Baksa, Udalguri, and Kokrajhar that comprise the entire Bodoland Territorial Region (BTR) have witnessed many ethnic riots and militant violence with major incidents that took place in 1996, 2008, 1998, and 2012.
The president of the United Peoples’ Party Liberal (UPPL), Bodo stated that the Council wants to assure that BTR should be harmonious and peaceful.
He also noted that under the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana, houses will be built for the rehabilitation of the affected people. Further, for better security of the displaced returnees, more police posts would be set up.
Notably, the Santhals were severely affected in December 2014 when as many as 76 people were killed from the community by the proscribed outfit National Democratic Front of Bodoland (NDFB) militants in the BTR region.
Ethnic violence also led to the deaths of over 100 people between the Bodos and the Bengali-speaking Muslims in 2008 and 2012. The BTC head also said that the surrendered NDFB militants are also being rehabilitated.
“The Assam government would give Rs 160 crore for the rehabilitation of NDFB cadres,” Bodo asserted in the IANS report, adding over 1,600 rebels belonging to four factions of the NDFB surrendered their arms since the historic BTR pact was signed last year.
The Centre has already provided a Rs 1,500 crore special development package to the BTC administration to undertake specific projects for the development of Bodo areas.