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A coronated prince and IIT grad help MHA seal Bodo peace accord

Author: Prabin Kalita
Publication: The Times of India
Date:  January 29, 2020
URL:      https://m.timesofindia.com/india/a-coronated-prince-and-iit-grad-help-mha-seal-bodo-peace-accord/amp_articleshow/73741076.cms?__twitter_impression=true

Two Bodo youths in their 20’s, one a coronated prince and the other an IIT graduate, both determined to create a society without guns in their homeland, won the confidence of ministry of home affairs to travel to Myanmar and bring back NDFB rebels based there. A week later the Bodo accord, which the duo had drafted, was adopted almost in entirety and signed.

The prince, Rajkumar Prithviraj Narayan Dev Mech, the 19th descendant of Boro King Chikra Mech, who turned 22 a couple of months back, said, “If anything had gone wrong in Myanmar, me and my partner Thulunga Basumatary could have been killed…we were on a foreign country and we had gone on our own.”

Immediately after getting clearance from home ministry to embark on their mission to NDFB (S) hideout they flew from New Delhi to Bangkok and from there to Mandalay in Myanmar on December 9. “From Mandalay we travelled three hours by a hired vehicle, discussed with the NDFB (S) leaders and convinced them to join the mainstream and on December 10 we all travelled westwards and entered India at Moreh the next day,” Prithiviraj said.

“We had already submitted the draft memorandum of settlement on behalf of NDFB (S) to government of India after which the government said it was swilling to negotiate,” said Thulunga, who passed out from IIT madras in humanities and social science in 2018 and instead of following his course mates to corporate houses or abroad for higher studies he chose to listen to his heart and serve his birthplace.

“I can say that 80 per cent of what we had drafted has found place in the accord, but we are satisfied. The NDFB leadership is also satisfied,” Thulunga said.

They said that the entire process took about five to six months to reach the final outcome. “We wanted to keep it transparent and the turning point was when we met the families of NDFB(S) leaders and members to and gained their trust. We were also able to convince the NDFB (S) leadership in Myanmar that the Bodo people aspire for a society without guns and they were convinced,” Thulunga said.

All paper works were completed and put in the right place, they said and truly enough the accord was signed in the fastest possible time. The NDFB (S) leadership signed the Suspension of Operation on January 17 and the accord along with the other three factions three days later.

In their effort to bring back peace in Bodo region, Prithiviraj was driven by the passion in his genes to do something “path-breaking” for the people while Thulunga wanted to pull out his homeland from the “crippled by socio-political problems, ethnic conflicts and national and sub-national uprisings” and “make the atmosphere conducive for scientific and technologically innovative activities.”
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