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Unabated Illegal Bangladeshi Threats to The Ethnic Identity of Boroland

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Today, one of Northeast India's strongest insurgent groups, National Democratic Front of Booroland (Progressive), NDFB(P), notified Palaniappan Chidambaram, the Home Minister of India, that the alarming rate of illegal influx from across the international boundary became a serious threat to the security of the Indian State, Assam, as well as the entire nation.

In their press release, B. Swmkhwr, the General Secretary of NDFB(P) stated, "The alarming influx of illegal migrants to Assam has become a serious threat to the security of India. The Assamese leadership, who are totally dependent on the 'vote-bank' of the illegal migrants can no more save Assam as an integral part of India. They have already bowed down and succumbed to the illegal unabated 'Bangladeshi'. There is every possibility of Assam being ceded to Bangladesh at any moment as the population of the illegal Bangladeshi migrants is soaring every year.

In democracy, mere head count matters most and by dint of simple plebiscite, Assam is certain to go off India's hand to Bangladesh within a few years. Therefore, the Boro people always want to remain as an integral part of India. For the sake of India's security, the Boro clan feels the creation of Boroland state is an acute necessity. Our people are able to stand against the onslaught of the influx. Boroland will be free from influx and will be saved as an integral part of India under the leadership of the Boro people".

A view of a press release of National Democratic Front of Boroland (Progressive), NDFB(P) to the Union Home Ministry, Government of India on illegal Bangladesh Migrants.
Photo: Shib Shankar Chatterjee)

In this context, the organization however, mentioned in their press release, "The race, Boro and other indigenous tribal peoples living in Assam are the sons of the soil, who are socially, economically and politically exploited, dominated, suppressed and marginalized. This particular tribe lived in this land for the last 7,000-years and had thousands of kings ruled in different kingdoms and territories at different times. In the course of time, the tribe lost their grip over their kingdoms and territories due partly to internecine feuds and partly because of the external aggressions.

Not only that the aforesaid tribe even, joined in the 'Indian Freedom Movement' and many had sacrificed their lives. But, despite all these, Boro peoples were denied the right to having a state of their own, while India got independence on 15th August, 1947. Instead of giving due recognition to our history and our sacrifice in the freedom movement, we were forcibly pushed into the fold of Assamese identity even if they have vast difference in ethnicity, language and culture and are now living as second class citizens in their own inherited land. Their traditional lands have been 'illegally encroached' by the suspected illegal intruders at the instance of the administrations and due to large influx of the illegal migrants or aggressors, we have been demographically outnumbered. The successive Indian Assam State Government neither protect their identity and land nor preserve their language and culture. Their very identity at present is at stake".

NDFB-02A view of page two of a press release by National Democratic Front of Boroland (Progressive), NDFB(P) to the Union Home Ministry, Government of India on illegal Bangladesh Migrants. (Photo by Shib Shankar Chatterjee)

"To assert ourselves and our rights, the Boro and other tribal peoples of Assam launched a democratic movement in demand of a separate state for them in 1967. The movement has still not come to an end. Two 'Boroland Accords', which were signed between the Boro leadership and the Government of India in the name of Boro Peace Accords, namely Boroland Autonomous Council (BAC), 20th February, 1993, and other one Boroland Territorial Autonomous District Council (BTADC), 10th February, 2003, for resolving the 'Boroland Movement', which could not fulfill the political aspirations of the Boro people on the ground that both accords are only development oriented and failed to address the question of political rights of the Boro and other tribal people.

The movement for Boroland State has passed 45-years but no solution has come up. During this long period of time seven new Indian States have formed or come up, such as "Meghalaya State" (1971), Arunachal Pradesh State (1972), Nagaland State (1975), Mizoram State (1986), Jharkhand State (2000), Chhattishgarh State (2000) and Uttarakahand State (2000) and 'Telengana State', one more new state in the Southern part of India is on the anvil. But, the issue of Boroland state is seen to be deliberately turned aside. On the basis of history, ethnic identity and language and culture and also on the basis of provision of the 'Indian Constitution' we have every right to entitle a 'separate state'. Why is such an injustice to our people?", questioned Information & Publicity Secretary, NDFB(P), S. Sanjarang in his press release.

A view of illegal Bangladesh migrants, who were caught red-handed by the Indian Assam State Police Force at Dhubri district of Indian State, Assam. The said district's few areas now falls under the Boroland Territorial Autonomous District Council (BTADC) areas. Some areas of the said BTADC are illegally encroached by the suspected illegal Bangladeshi nationals, claimed the intelligence reports of the BTADC areas. (Photo by Shib Shankar Chatterjee)

Earlier, the surrendered extremist group also revealed in the press note, "The Boro and other indigenous tribal became restive since the last part of the colonial rule to assert and strive for their political right. Our people launched a vigorous democratic movement with demand for a separate state Udayachal for the plain tribal of the eastern Indian State, Assam, in the year-1967. Our movement continued for a long 22-years but the Indian Government did nothing to redress our demand. Instead our democratic and peaceful movement was repressed and crushed by violent means.

On the other hand, when our movement for Udayachal took momentum at that time another Eastern Indian States, Meghalaya and Arunachal Pradesh were granted statehood unexpectedly in the year 1971 and 1972 respectively. The tribal people of the state, Assam were very happy that since those states had been created without any coup or movement Udayachal was also at the door step. Sweat, blood and tears of the Boro people shed during the movement yielded no fruit and the dream of a separate state remained elusive for them".

Nurse treating a seriously injured religious minority community people, Jainal Abedin (25) in a civil hospital on 08th November, 2003, in two separate bomb blast cases, which happened in the religious minority community areas that known as "suspected illegal Bangladeshi infested area" Jaleshwar-Airkata area under Goalpara district of Eastern Indian State, Assam by NDFB militant group. In this blast, eight civilians, including suspected extremists were also killed and seven others were seriously wounded, said Indian Assam State Police Force department sources. (Photo by Shib Shankar Chatterjee)

The organization further wrote in their press release and demanded, "Though, the movement for Boroland is being carried out the NDFB(P), therefore, in this context, the said organization would like to inform that our organization is presently in political dialogue with the Government of India to resolve the Boro people's demand for Boroland State under the Article 2 & 3 of the Indian Constitution. But, the fact is that the dialogue is not moving forward because of lacking in a clear cut policy on the part of the government in regards to resolution of the Boroland problem. The Government of India very often speaks for peace.

Our people are not against peace, but the truth is that peace will never prevail in our area unless Boro people are granted Boroland State. And this is why, our organisation wants the Boroland problem to be resolved once for all but not in a piece meal way, and in this connection, our organisation would like to appeal to the Union Minister of Home Affairs of the Republic of India to take prompt and sympathetic steps a) Expedite the NDFB (P)'s dialogue with the Government of India, b) Appoint a politician or statesman interlocutor to expedite the dialogue, c) Hold the dialogue in the political level for early solution and d) Concede the demand of Boroland State to the Boro people".

In this unabated illegal Bangladeshis in Northeast India subject, you may also see my earlier series/(related stories):

a) All Disquiet in North-East India
b) Northeast Indian Region Threatened By Illegal Influx
c) Millions of Foreigners in India
d) Bangladeshis Sneak Into India for Free Medical Check Ups
e) India Ignores Illegal Migration In Northeast India, People Continue to Suffer
f) Saga of Devastation in Brahmaputra Valley River Islands and
g) Indian Enclaves Battered With Hostilities and Isolation

Shib Shankar Chatterjee is a former BBC, The Times of India, Hindustan Times and The Statesman Contributor from Northeast India, who specializes in investigations of important issues affecting the people of India and Bangladesh.

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