Kokrajhar (Assam), March 13 : As the indefinite hunger strike by Assam's Bodo community entered its fourth day demanding a new state, the leaders on Monday said that the government is committing a blunder by ignoring the Bodo political issue and will be responsible if the agitation hits law and order in the state.

The Bodos -- who have been on hunger strike since March 10 -- also said that if the government fails to address the decades-old Bodo's political issue, it must be prepared to send coffins for the people on hunger strike.

"Government through its various channels is sending messages that they could not reach a decision on the Bodo issues due to several reasons. This appears to be a silly excuse.

"If the government can't reach out to us politically, then they should be ready to send us coffins. Let democracy prevail on our dead bodies," said Pramod Bodo, President of the All Bodo Students Union (ABSU).

The hunger strike is being led by the ABSU, National Democratic Front of Bodoland-Progressive (NDFB-P) and the People's Joint Action Committee for Bodoland Movement (PJACBM).

These groups have alleged that the governments is deliberately avoiding taking up the separate state demand, so that the Bodoland issue dies down.

As the condition of people on the hunger strike started deteoriating, the Bodo bodies denied taking any medical aid till both the central and state governments give a commitment to create a separate state for the Bodos.

The Bodo groups also threatened economic blockade on the lines of the Manipur economic blockade.

Dhiren Bodo, Chairman NDFB-P said: "We would like to humbly tell the government that if the hunger strikes is not responded to positively, national highways and railway lines passing through Bodoland will be blocked for equal number of hours."
"We hope the government is not testing our nerves. We would like to urge the government to respond to our peaceful and non-violent protest against the historical injustice and initiate political dialogue at the earliest," said Bodo.

The NDFB-P said that despite shunning arms and joining peace talks on the demand for Bodoland on the government's plea, there is no positive response from the government.

According to the Bodo communities, the Bodo Territorial Council (BTC) -- formed to give autonomy to the Bodo people under the Sixth Schedule (Amended) of the Constitution -- has several shortcomings in terms of executing the monetary schemes of the central government for the welfare of the Bodos.

They said that the BTC government would not be able to do overall development.

The community members have urged the government for an immediate solution to the Bodo issue, failing which "the government will be responsible for the law and order problem in the state".

"If this country is still governed by the democratically-elected representatives, why are they failing to respond to such a peaceful and non-violent movement by one of the largest indigenous communities of the country," asked U.G. Brahma, former parliamentarian and a Bodo leader.

Rakesh Bodo, President PJACBM said: "We are continuously urging our people to maintain pace and harmony. However, after 100 hours of hunger strike, people at large are getting really agitated. Hence, before law and order in the region is affected, we want the government to come up with a solution."

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