Bodo Peace Accord

By BYJU'S Exam Prep

Updated on: September 13th, 2023

Keeping in mind the goal of bringing permanent peace in Bodo tribal-dominated areas in Assam, the Central government ( through the Ministry of Home Affairs), on 27th January 2020 signed a tripartite agreement with National Democratic Front of Bodoland (NDFB), an insurgent group and two other outfits. The agreement provides political and economic benefits to the Bodos without acceding to their demand for a separate state or union territory. The All Bodo Students’ Union (ABSU) has been leading a movement for a Bodoland state (a separate state from Assam) since 1972. The United Bodo People’s Organisation(UBPO) were also signatories along with NDFB and ABSU, to the Comprehensive Bodo Settlement Agreement – Bodoland Territorial Region (BTR).

Bodo Peace Accord: The Bodos; Background of the Dispute; Timeline; Major Points of the Accord; Significance


Bodos are believed to have been one of the earliest settlers of Assam. They are an ethnolinguistic group which is a sub-group in the Bodo-Kachari family. The single largest tribal community in Assam is ‘Bodo’. They make up over 5-6 per cent of the population of Assam. Historically, they have been in control of large parts of Assam. Moreover, the districts of Assam,i.e. Kokrajhar, Baksa, Udalguri and Chirang which constitute the Bodo Territorial Area District (BTAD) are also home to several ethnic groups.


The Bodo conflict dates back to before India became independent. It gained momentum in 1987 when the ABSU launched an agitation for the formation of a separate state. A few prominent armed separatist groups were founded during the 1980s which also demanded the formation of a separate state for Bodos. They have advanced some reasons as the basis of a demand for a separate state. They have called the territory/aerial expanse they inhabit as a home for centuries. Consequently, they want to protect their ethnic identity, way of life, and language from outside influences. They have also sought better governance and development of their area.


  • A memorandum was submitted in 1929 to the Simon Commission for reservations in the Legislative Assembly. It also called for a separate political entity for Bodo people. The memorandum demands were denied.
  • In the 1960s and 1970s, there were demands from the Bodos and other tribes for a new separate state of Udayachal. This was due to accusations of unauthorized occupants encroaching on Bodo-inhabited lands.
  • In the late 1980s, a demand for a separate state for Bodo tribals i.e. Bodoland accompanied by a demand for Assam to be divided 50-50 were also raised. Despite the initial protests led by ABSU being peaceful, separatist groups like the Bodoland Liberation Tigers (BLT) and National Democratic Front of Bodoland (NDFB) were also founded during the same time.
  • In February 1993, the Central government, Assam government and the ABSU signed a tripartite agreement ( FIRST BOD ACCORD) as a result of which the Bodoland Autonomous Council (BAC) was constituted.
  • In February 2003, the separatist group BLT was disbanded. Another tripartite agreement (SECOND BODO ACCORD) was signed between the Centre, the Assam government and the BLT which led to the creation of the Bodoland Territorial Council (BTC). The BTC administered the BTA (Bodoland Territorial Area). BTA was an entity based on the idea of a state within a state (in a way to accommodate the demands for autonomy of the Bodos). It was created by the reorganization of 7 districts in Assam. The reorganization led to the formation of 4 contiguous districts of Kokrajhar, Chirang, Udalguri and Baksa.
  • In 2005, NDFB agreed to a ceasefire with the Assam and the Central Governments. The group split into three factions post the ceasefire agreement. One of those new factions, the NDFB (S) continued to carry out violent attacks within the state as opposed to other factions which gave up violence.
  • In 2012, there were huge riots between the Bengali speaking Muslims and Bodos in the BTA. This wasn’t an isolated incident. such clashes on varying scales have been common in the region since then.
  • In May 2014, the Bodo terrorists killed 30 people in Kokrajhar and Baksa districts on the assumption that Bodo people had not voted for the candidates endorsed by NDFB in the Lok Sabha elections held in 2014.
  • In December 2014, more attacks by Bodo terrorists (allegedly belonging to NDFB(S) killed 81 people including 76 Adivasis and about 2 lakh people were rendered homeless due to the attacks. Due to this, the central government was forced to launch Operation All Out which was a large scale military operation involving the Army, the Air Force, the Assam state police and the paramilitary forces to eliminate NDFB(S) root and stem.
  • In August 2017 the movement group comprising ABSU, NDFB (P) and the People’s Joint Action Committee for Bodoland Movement (PJACBM) announced a series of discussions with the government seeking an early solution to the Bodoland issue.
  • On 27, January 2020 (even as the ABSU continued its movement for the creation of a separate Bodoland state and the NDFB carried out insurgent guerilla warfare operations) the THIRD BODO ACCORD was signed between the central government, 4 factions of NDFB and ABSU following several rounds of discussions and negotiations.


  • The agreement mentions that negotiations with the Bodo groups were held for a comprehensive and final solution to their demands, at the same time, the integrity of the state of Assam was ensured.
  • Consequently, the demand for a separate state has come to an end (as per a minister’s viewpoint). However, this was disputed by an ABSU leader who said that giving up the demand for statehood for Bodos was not mentioned anywhere in the accord.
  • The accord has renamed the BTA District as the BTR /(Bodoland Territorial Region). BTA covered 11% area of Assam.
  • The new Accord provides for changes in the area of BTR/BTA and also includes provisions for Bodos living outside BTR.
  • A state-appointed commission will examine demands of including villages contiguous in BTR with a majority tribal population into BTR and make recommendations regarding the same.
  • At the same time, it will also make recommendations regarding the exclusion of villages inside BTR presently with a majority no tribal population. This can help mitigate inter-community clashes.
  • The government will, in due course of time, also set up a Bodo-Kachari Welfare Council (BKWC) for special and focused developmental efforts on Bodo villages outside BTR.
  • The new accord provides for even more legislative, administrative, executive and financial powers to BTC.
  • The accord has also suggested improvements to the 6th Schedule of the constitution to improve the financial capacity and administrative powers of the BTC.
  • The agreement mentions that the state government will be notifying the Bodo language (Devanagari script) as the associate official language of the state.
  • It has also mentioned that the criminal cases for non-heinous crimes committed in the movement shall be withdrawn.
  • It further says that those cases in connection with heinous crimes will also be reviewed on a case by case basis.


The signing of the agreement is likely to bring together leading stakeholders under one single framework to end the almost 50-year-old Bodo crisis. About 1500 cadres of various outfits such as the NDFB(RD), the NDFB(P) and the NDFB(S) will be rehabilitated and assimilated into the mainstream by the Central and Assam Governments. Also, the NDFB factions will give up the path of violence and disband their organisations within a month following the signing of the deal. The accord will also protect and promote the unique cultural heritage of the Bodo people and give them access to wide-ranging developmental opportunities, thereby bringing overall peace and harmony in Assam.

Such accords are a step in the right direction. Strong armed military actions to end such movements never work out in the long term and end up creating a vicious cycle of violence. Therefore, focus on negotiations to ensure basic demands protecting cultural rights and ensuring access to developmental opportunities within the framework of the constitution are the need of the hour. Such accord proves to be sustainable in the long term and bring a lasting end to conflicts.

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