Centre appoints panel for Bodoland issue

 After clearing the way for a separate Telangana state, the Centre has set up an expert committee to look into the demand for a separate state of Bodoland to be carved out of Assam.

This is for the first time that the central government has set up an expert committee to look into the demand for bifurcating Assam.

The panel will be headed by former Union home secretary G K Pillai and it will  held talks with all sections of the society on the viability of a separate state of Bodoland and submit its report within nine months.

If a separate Bodoland state is formed, it will be the fourth state to be carved out of Assam since Independence.

Nagaland became a separate state in 1963 and Meghalaya in 1972.

Mizoram became a Union Territory in 1972, and achieved statehood in 1987.

The government move comes against the backdrop of several Bodo outfits intensifying their protests to press for a separate state for Bodo tribals, mostly living in a few districts on the northern bank of the Brahmaputra.

An autonomous Bodoland Territorial Council (BTC) was set up in 2003 by signing an accord after years of violent agitations. The BTC area had witnessed ethnic clashes between Bodo tribals and immigrant Muslims in 2012 that killed more than 100 people.

The issue of separate Bodoland state was raised vociferously by Kokrajhar MP S K Bwismuthiary in the just concluded Parliament session.

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