Pro-talk Bodo group to take part in local elections

January 29th, 2010 - 4:54 pm ICT by IANS  

Guwahati, Jan 29 (IANS) The pro-talk faction of the outlawed National Democratic Front of Bodoland (NDFB) Friday announced it would participate in upcoming council elections in Assam.
“We might not put up candidates on our own, but would support candidates or political parties that advocate our cause for separate Bodoland,” Gobinda Basumatary, general secretary of the pro-talk NDFB faction, told journalists.

Dates for the elections have not been announced, but they are expected to be held by March.

The statement comes after the outfit held its general council meeting at its designated camp in Udalguri in northern Assam Thursday.

The Basumatary-led NDFB entered into a ceasefire with New Delhi in 2005, although another faction headed by guerrilla leader Ranjan Daimary is still underground.

The two rival NDFB factions are engaged in a bitter fratricidal war in the Bodo dominated areas in western and northern Assam.

The two factions are also engaged in clashes with the Bodoland People’s Front (BPF), a political party now ruling the Bodoland Territorial Council (BTC), a politico-administrative structure in the region.

More than 200 people have been killed in the last three years in these clashes.

The BPF was formed after the outlawed Bodoland Liberation Tigers (BLT) was disbanded and the Bodo Accord signed in 2004 after the entire BLT rebels came overground.

“We hope our decision to join the electoral process, although not directly, is taking in the right perspective. We appeal all to stop killings and bloodshed,” the NDFB leader said.

“The decision by the NDFB to enter the political domain would trigger more violence,” a senior Congress party leader said.

Although the pro-talk NDFB leaders and their cadres (about 700) are supposed to stay in designated camps, there are reports that they move around with weapons and engage in violence.

Formal peace talks with the ceasefire NDFB group are yet to begin.

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