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Assam’s Bodoland council on mission happiness

  • Published
    27th Mar, 2023
Context

The BTC government is set to launch its Mission Happiness across the 9,000 sq. km Bodoland Territorial Region (BTR) comprising four districts – Baksa, Chirang, Kokrajhar and Udalgiri.   

About the mission
  • Happiness will soon be an academic subject in Assam’s Bodoland Territorial Council (BTC). 
  • Introducing peace and happiness as an interlinked subjects will be taught in all mainstream subjects
  • The reign of peace in BTR since the signing of the Bodo Accord in January 2020 helped conceive the idea of teaching happiness by first understanding the reasons that make different categories of people unhappy.

Who are Bodos?

  • The Bodo people are the largest tribe of Assam settled in the northern part of the Brahmaputra river valley.
  • It is estimated that the Bodo tribe comprise 28 per cent of Assam's population.
  • Bodos are an ethnolinguistic community spread across northeast India but are concentrated in Assam.
  • They speak the body language, a mixture of a dialect of Tibetan and Burmese, recognised as one of the twenty-two scheduled languages in the constitution of India.

What is the BTC?

  • The Bodoland Territorial Council (BTC) is an autonomous body under the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution.
  • BTC, currently has control over 30 subjects such as education, forests, horticulture but no jurisdiction over the police, revenue and general administration departments, which are controlled by the Assam government.
  • The area under the jurisdiction of BTC, formed under the 2003 Accord, was called the Bodo Territorial Autonomous District (BTAD).
  • As per the accord, the BTAD was renamed Bodoland Territorial Region (BTR). BTAD comprises Kokrajhar, Chirang, Baksa and Udalguridistricts, accounting for 11% of Assam’s area and 10% of its population.

History of Extremism

  • The demand for a separate state for the Bodos has been going on in Assam for nearly five decades, with several Bodo overground and militant groups having raised it, leading to recurring agitations, protests and violence.
  • This was the third Bodo accord to be signed in the last 27 years when the violent movement for a separate Bodoland state claimed hundreds of lives, and destroyed of public and private properties.
    • First Accord: The first Bodo accord was signed with the All Bodo Students Union in 1993, leading to the creation of a Bodoland Autonomous Council with limited political powers.
    • Second Accord: In 2003, the second Bodo accord was signed with the militant group Bodo Liberation Tigers, leading to the formation of a Bodoland Territorial Council (BTC) with four districts of Assam- Kokrajhar, Chirang, Baska and Udalguri-called Bodoland Territorial Area District (BTAD).
  • In the 1990s more than 20,000 Muslims were displaced in Kokrajhar and Bongaigaon districts.
  • In 1998, a bloody clash between Adivasi and Bodos led to the killings of 50 people and around 500 homes were burnt down.
  • In 2014, around 80 people were killed during the conflict between the Bodo forces and the Adivasi people.

Bodo Accord 2020

  • In 2020, The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), the Assam government and the Bodo groups signed an agreement to redraw and rename the Bodoland Territorial Area District (BTAD) in Assam, currently spread over four districts of Kokrajhar, Chirang, Baksa and Udalguri.
  • Funding: A Special Development Package of Rs. 1500 crores over three years will be given by the Union Government to undertake specific projects for the development of Bodo areas.
  • Commission: It proposes to set up a commission under Section 14 of the Sixth Schedule to the Constitution of India, which will recommend the inclusion or exclusion of tribal populations residing in villages adjoining BTAD areas.
  • Bodo-Kachari Welfare Council: The Government of Assam will establish a Bodo-Kachari Welfare Council as per the existing procedure.
  • Associate official language: The Assam government will also notify Bodo language as an associate official language in the state and set up a separate directorate for Bodo medium schools.
  • Tribal status: Bodos living in the hills would be conferred a Scheduled Hill Tribe status.
  • Structural changes: The name of BTAD will be changed to Bodoland Territorial Region (BTR) and it will have more executive, administrative, legislative and financial powers.
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