GUWAHATI: Non-Bodos are up in arms against the Bodoland Territorial Council’s purported decision that no one can sell land in BTC areas to a non-tribal without its permission.Over the past few days, the non-Bodos have staged a series of protests in areas falling under the BTC, which comes under the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution. The non-Bodos make up 70 per cent of the population in Bodoland Territorial Areas Districts (BTAD), which comprises four districts of western and northern Assam and is administered by the BTC.
The Congress opposed the decision outright. Assam Pradesh Congress Committee spokesman Durga Das Bodo said the party was opposed to the decision as it violated the BTC Accord of 2003 and the Sixth Schedule to the Constitution (Amendment) Act, 2003.
The BTC was created in 2003 after the erstwhile insurgent group, Bodo Liberation Tigers, signed a peace accord with the Centre. At present, the BTC is headed by the former insurgent leader, Hagrama Mohilary.
The Congress saw the decision as “one-sided and autocratic” and violative of the fundamental rights of the people. “The move will adversely affect 70 per cent of the population in the BTAD. We will take legal recourse if the BTC tries to implement the decision,” the Congress spokesman warned. Former Congress Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi urged the BTC authorities to not take away the rights of the non-Bodos.
The BTC authorities have said the reports on transfer of land to non-tribals were “politically motivated”.
“The BTC has not made any new land rule. The Memorandum of Settlement of the BTC Accord of 2003 says the non-tribals cannot buy land in tribal belts and blocks,” Mohilary clarified. “It is an existing rule that no non-tribal can buy land in the protected tribal belts and blocks, not only in the BTC but in entire Assam. ”