`Consider voters list for rehabilitation in Bodo area`

Assam Governor JB Patnaik has suggested that BTC authorities rehabilitate the violence-affected people of BTAD on the basis of the voters` list.

Guwahati: Assam Governor JB Patnaik has suggested that the Bodoland Territorial Council (BTC) authorities rehabilitate the violence-affected people of the Bodoland Territorial Areas Districts (BTAD) on the basis of the voters` list and not on the basis of land ownership.

Patnaik`s suggestion came at a meeting with Assam government officials and the BTC leadership at the Raj Bhavan here on Thursday. He also emphasised the rehabilitation be completed within a specific time-frame.

Over 100 people died and close to five lakh people were displaced during the violence between the Bodos and Bengali speaking Muslim settlers that rocked the Kokrajhar, Chirang and Dhubri districts since July this year.

Although some of the displaced people, others could not since they did not have land documents, considered a pre-requisite for the rehabilitation process.

"The voters` list should be taken as the basis because every voter is supposed to be a citizen of the country and in a democracy, the people`s representatives are elected by the registered voters of the country.

"The BTC has also been the representative of the people of Bodoland," said Patnaik, adding that denying voters their citizenship would mean neglecting the process of elected democracy.

Patnaik also mentioned that he was endowed with special powers under the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution for the governance of such areas and suggested that the BTC should apprise him of the development and other issues regularly from time to time.

He further said that the BTC`s accounts should be properly maintained, audited by the accountant general and the reports placed before the legislature.

He also suggested immediate introduction of the panchayati system in BTC areas which was an essential part of democratic reforms so that the fruits of development could be enjoyed by the people at the grassroots.

Patnaik also observed that there was a deep sense of mistrust among the people in BTAD and urged peace panels be set up at the village level in order to eliminate such mistrust.

He also appreciated the dedicated services of the Gandhian workers in the period after the post violence and said that they should be encouraged to continue their mission till peace was achieved.

"Peace could not be restored by the government alone," he said.


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