Bodoland as goal

Print edition : January 16, 2004

Govinda Basumatary, NDFB general secretary, outside a Guwahati court on February 15, 2003. - RITU RAJ KONWAR

Formation: The NDFB, originally called the Bodo Security Force, was formed in 1988. It seeks to secure a sovereign Bodoland in the areas north of the Brahmaputra river, and the replacement of the Devnagri script with the Roman script for all Bodo-language texts.

Leadership: The NDFB was formed under the command of Ranjan Daimary, who also uses the alias D.R. Nabla. He continues to be its chairman. The NDFB's vice-president, Dhiren Boro, was arrested in Gangtok (Sikkim) on January 1, 2003. Its general secretary B. Swmkhwr alias Govinda Basumatary was arrested on November 25, 2002. `Lieutenant' B. Irakdao is the outfit's publicity secretary, while Nileswar Basumatary is its finance secretary.

Military capabilities: With an estimated strength of 3,500 fighters, most of whom were present in training camps in Bhutan, the NDFB operates on the northern and north-western side of the Brahmaputra river in Assam. It also uses the Manas National Park, adjoining Bhutan, as a sanctuary.

The NDFB has had close ties with ULFA and also with some officials in the Bhutanese establishment. Indian intelligence believes that NDFB correspondence with arms suppliers in South-East Asia was, on occasion, routed through Bhutanese diplomatic traffic. For most of its weapons and infrastructure, however, the NDFB depends largely on ULFA.

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