National Democratic Front of Bodoland
|Formation||October 3, 1986|
|Type||Separatist militant group|
|Purpose||Establishment of a sovereign Bodoland|
|1200 (estimated, 2013)|
Chairman, Anti-Talks faction
President, Pro-Talks/Progressive faction
Chief, Songbijit faction
|I K Songbijit|
|Bodo Security Force|
The National Democratic Front of Bodoland (NDFB) is an armed separatist outfit which seeks to obtain a sovereign Bodoland for the Bodo people in Assam, India. It is designated as a terrorist organisation by the Government of India.
NDFB traces its origin to Bodo Security Force, a militant group formed in 1986. The current name was adopted in 1994, after the group rejected Bodo Accord signed between the Government of India and ABSU-BPAC. The group has carried out several attacks in Assam, targeting non-Bodo civilians as well as the security forces. In particular, it has targeted Santhal, Munda and Oraon adivasis (tribals), whose ancestors had been brought to Assam as tea labourers during British Raj. Its large-scale attacks against the tribals during the 1996 Assam Legislative Assembly elections led to the formation of Adivasi Cobra Force, a rival militant group. After 1996, NDFB was also involved in conflicts with the militant group Bodo Liberation Tigers Force (which surrendered in 2003). Since 2000, NDFB has increasingly targeted Bengali Muslim immigrants in what it claims to be the Bodo territory.
During the 1990s, NDFB established 12 camps on the Bhutan-Assam border. After suffering major reverses during Royal Bhutan Army's Operation All Clear, NDFB signed a ceasefire with the Indian authorities in May 2005.
This was followed by a split in the group: NDFB(P), the progressive faction supported peace talks with the government, while NDFB(R) opposed surrender. In 2012, NDFB(R) split further, leading to the formation of NDFB(S), which is led by a non-Bodo I K Songbijit. The NDFB(S) faction continues to indulge in militancy, and has been blamed by the government for May and December 2014 attacks.
NDFB claims to represent the Bodo people, who form around 10% of Assam's population. The main grievances of the group are the under-development in the region and the influx of immigrants. It aims to address these issues by seceding from India, and establishing a sovereign Bodoland. The NDFB constitution, adopted on 10 March 1998, lists its objectives as the following:
- Liberate Bodoland from the Indian expansionism and occupation;
- Free the Bodo nation from the colonialist exploitation, oppression and domination;
- Establish a Democratic Socialist Society to promote Liberty, Equality and Fraternity; and
- Uphold the integrity and sovereignty of Bodoland.
The promotion of the Roman script for the Bodo language is also a significant demand of NDFB. The group's members are mostly Christians, and are opposed to the use of Devanagari script for the Bodo language.
The Bodos are an ethno-linguistic community native to the Brahmaputra Valley in Assam state of India. In the mid-1980s, Bodo politicians, alleging discrimination against Bodos in Assam, intensified their campaign for the creation of Bodo-majority Bodoland. While majority of the Bodos envisaged Bodoland as an autonomous territory or state within India, a small section demanded complete sovereignty. NDFB was formed by secessionst Bodos on 3 October 1986 as the Bodo Security Force (BdSF), under the leadership of Ranjan Daimary, in Odla Khasibari village (near Udalguri). BdSF carried out several violent attacks against non-Bodo civilians. On 12 December 1992, it attacked the 7th Assam Police Battalion headquarters at Choraikhola in Kokrajahar District, and decamped with 160 self-loading Rifles(SLR) and 5 Light Machine Guns(LMG).
The Bodoland movement was mainly led by the political organisations All Bodo Students Union (ABSU) and Bodo Peoples' Action Committee (BPAC). In 1993, these two groups signed the Bodo Accord with Indian government, agreeing to the formation of Bodoland Autonomous Council within Assam. BdSF opposed this Accord. Shortly after the Accord, the Assam State Government refused to hand over 2,750 villages to the proposed Council, arguing that Bodos formed less than 50% of the population in these villages. Following this, the BdSF was renamed to National Democratic Front of Bodoland (NDFB) on 25 November 1994. The NDFB then launched an ethnic cleansing campaign, attacking non-Bodo communities in these villages. During the 1996 Assam Legislative Assembly elections, it killed hundreds of Santhal, Munda and Oraon adivasis (tribals), whose ancestors had been brought to Assam as tea labourers during British Raj. In response, the tribals formed Adivasi Cobra Force, their own militant group.
In the mid-1990s, NDFB also faced a rival within the Bodo community, in form of Bodo Liberation Tigers Force (BLTF). The BLTF had evolved from an older militant group called the Bodo Volunteer Force. It considered NDFB's secessionist agenda unrealistic and unattainable, and focused on establishment of an autonomous Bodo territory within India. After 1996, the two groups clashed violently for supremacy. BLTF allied with Bengali Tiger Force to protect Bengalis from NDFB attacks, and also supported Indian security forces against NDFB. The conflicts between Christian-dominated NDFB and Hindu-dominated BLTF polarised the Bodoland movement along religious lines. In 2003, BLTF surrendered en masse in return for the establishment of the Bodoland Territorial Council.
NDFB had established 12 camps on the Bhutan-Assam border. During 2003-2004, the Royal Bhutan Army destroyed these camps as part of its Operation All Clear. NDFB chief Ranjan Daimary was offered amnesty by the Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi in December 2003, but rejected the offer. On 8 October 2004, the NDFB announced a 6-month long unilateral ceasefire, that came into effect on 15 October. However, the Government continued its operations against the group. On 15 April 2005, NDFB extended the ceasefire. The Government released its general secretary Govinda Basumatary to open a channel of communication with the organisation's Bangladesh-based leadership. This resulted in a ceasefire agreement between NDFB and the Government on 25 May 2005. The agreement stated that the NDFB agree to cease hostile action against security forces and civilians. In return, the security forces would not carry out operations against the group's members. The agreement also stipulated that NDFB members would disarm and live in camps protected by the military for a year, and would refrain from assisting other militant groups. The pact came into force on 1 June 2005. However, certain factions of NDFB continued militancy. In May 2006, five members of the security forces were abducted and killed by suspected NDFB members in Assam's Udalguri District. The group also continued to clash with cadres of the ex-BLTF (Bodo Liberation Tiger Force). On June 5, 2006, two former BLTF cadres were killed by NDFB militants in the Karbi Anglong District, and one former member of the disbanded group was lynched by suspected NDFB militants in Golaghat District on June 3, 2007.
In 2008, the group split into two after Ranjan Daimary's name appeared in the 2008 Assam bombings case. NDFB(P), the pro-talks factions led by B Sungthagra supported peace talks with the governments. NDFB(R), led by Daimary, refused to give up militancy. In December 2008, the NDFB(P) indicated its plans to indirectly or directly participate the Lok Sabha elections. In 2012, I K Songbijit, the chief of the NDFB(R) faction's "Bodoland Army", announced the formation of a nine-member "interim national council", resulting in a split. NDFB(S), the faction led by Songibijit, is now the most dreaded faction.
In 2010, NDFB had an estimated 1,500 members. Before December 2003, its armed wing Bodoland Army had around 3500 members, most of whom were based in the 12 camps located in southern Bhutan. However, after the Royal Bhutan Army's operations against NDFB, a large number of its members either surrendered or were arrested. Before the 2005 ceasefire, it had 2000 members, who were mainly based in the NDFB camps in Myanmar and Bangladesh, as well as temporary camps in Arunachal Pradesh and Meghalaya.
- The faction led by Ranjan Daimari, the founder and leader of the former united NDFB.
- The Progressive faction, formed in 2008, and led by B. Sungthagra
- An offshoot of NDFB(R), led by IK Songbijit. It is believed to have around 270 cadres, and is managed by a 9-member "national council".
Until 2012, NDFB(P) was also called the Pro-Talks Faction or NDFB(PTF). The Anti-Talks Faction, which later split into NDFB(R) and NDFB(S) was called NDFB(ATF).
Links with other organisations
NDFB has had links with other militant organisations including United Liberation Front of Assam (ULFA), Kamatapur Liberation Organisation (KLO), Achik National Volunteers Council (ANVC), the Myanmar-based Chin National Liberation Army and National Socialist Council of Nagaland-Khaplang (NSCN-K).
- Ranjan Daimary alias D.R. Nabla: The founder of NDFB, the Chairman of the former united organisation, and now the chief of NDFB(R) faction
- B. Sungthagra alias Dhiren Boro: Former Vice President of the united NDFB. He had been arrested in Gangtok on 1 January 2003, and released in 2008. He was elected as the outfit's President at a meeting in Serfanguri on 15 December 2008, leading to a split in the group.
- B Swmkhwr alias Govinda Basumatary: Former General Secretary of the united NDFB. He had been arrested on 25 November 2002, and released later.
- Ingti Kathar Songbijit: The leader of NDFB(S). A Karbi by birth. He was elevated to the post of "army commander" of NDFB(R) in 2009, and formed an interim council in 2012, leading to a split.
- B Saoraigwra, General Secretary
- C Rwikha, military Secretary
- Ranjit Basumatary, Spokesperson
Former united NDFB
- B. Sanjarang, publicity secretary
- B. Benga, Speaker
- Nileswar Basumatary alias B J Jabda, Finance secretary: He had surrendered to the Assam Police in Guwahati on 17 March 2004, and was released later
- Bijoy Boro, Deputy commander-in-chief: He was arrested in Bangkok during July 2004, and later deported to India, where he was put in the custody of the Assam Police
- B Irakdao, Publicity secretary: Missing since the Bhutanese military operations in December 2003
- B Udang alias Udang K R Brahma, Head of NDFB's "Central Headquarters": Handed over to the Indian authorities by Bhutan on 5 June 2004
NDFB has carried out bombings, kidnappings and murders in Assam. The Assam Government has accused it of launching an ethnic cleansing campaign against the Adivasis and Muslim settlers in the region.
The group primarily operates in the region to the north and north-west of the Brahmaputra river. It is active in the Bongaigaon, Kokrajhar, Darrang, Barpeta, Dhubri, Nalbari and Sonitpur Districts of Assam. It has also been active in the Garo Hills region of Meghalaya. It has used the neighbouring Bhutan as a refuge, crossing the border in the Manas National Park area. In December 2003, the Royal Bhutan Army initiated a crackdown on the group's activities in Bhutan.
Between 1992 and 2001, the violence involving NDFB resulted in the deaths of 167 security forces personnel and over 1200 civilians:
|Year||Civilians killed by NDFB||Security Forces Personnel killed by NDFB||NDFB militants killed by the Security Forces|
Attacks attributed to NDFB
The attacks attributed to the NDFB include (SATP):
|1 May 1998||Anjora||NDFB militants kill 5 Adivasis (tribals)|||
|2 May 1998||Deoshree, Kokrajhar District||NDFB militants drag 4 Adivasis out of a bus, kill one of them and torture the other 3||SATP|
|3 May 1998||near Bishmuri point on NH-31, Kokrajhar District||NDFB militants drag Adivasis out of a bus, and kill 14 of them; four others injured||SATP|
|9 May 1998||Borbil, near Gosaigaon||NDFB militants kill 16 Santhals Adivasis, including 10 women and two children; 12 others injured|
|17 June 1998||Kokrajhar District||NDFB militants kill four Adivasis||SATP|
|15 September 1998||Gossaigaon subdivision, Kokrajhar District||NDFB militants kill 14 Santhals||SATP|
|31 July 2000||Soonmari||NDFB militants blow up two bogies of a Rangia-bound passenger train, killing 14 passengers||SATP|
|1 August 2000||near Tezpur||NDFB militants explode a bomb on a passenger train, killing 12 people||SATP|
|21 August 2000||Dhubri||NDFB militants kill 5 Muslim civilians||SATP|
|19 August 2000||Guwahati||NDFB kills Bineshwar Brahma, branding him an agent of the BJP-led Central government. Brahma was opposed to the adoption of the Roman script for the Bodo language, which had invited the ire of NDFB.|||
|21 August 2000||Garagaon||NDFB militants kill the Bodo MLA Mohini Basumatary of the People's Democratic Front|||
|8 November 2000||Barpeta District||Suspected NDFB militants kill 8 civilians, including 7 non-Assamese people|||
|26 November 2000||Lung Sung forest reserve||NDFB kills 8 woodcutters who refused to obey their order to stop logging in Bodo areas||SATP|
|3 January 2001||Assam||NDFB militants kill woodcutters|||
|31 July 2001||Soonmari||NDFB militants detonate a bomb on a Rangiya-bound passenger train, killing 14|||
|1 August 2001||near Rangia||NDFB militants detonate a bomb on the Arunachal Express between Rangia and Goreswar stations, killing 12 and injuring 8. Two NDFB militants suspected to be involved in the blast were killed in a police encounter near Goreswar.|||
|25 September 2001||Baghmari, Bongaigaon District||NDFB bomb blast derails the North East Express, injuring 100 people||SATP|
|25 October 2001||Gauripur||NDFB militants detonate an explosive at a Hindu celebration, killing 3 and injuring 12|||
|7 December 2001||Assam||Opposed to logging in the region, NDFB militants kill 4 woodcutters in two separate incidents|||
|2 June 2002||Bongshijhora village, Dhburi District||NDFB militants kill 3 members of a family|||
|14 July 2003||Kokrajhar District||NDFB militants kill 3 people in separate incidents|||
|24 November 2003||Khanglabari, Darrang District||NDFB militants kill 3 Biharis, and injure 9 others|||
|8 July 2010||Gossaigaon, Kokrajhar District||NDFB militants blast railway tracks, resulting in derailment of the Kolkata-bound Garib Rath Express. A six-year-old child Durlav Sethia was killed, and 23 others were injured. The NDFB stated that the attack was a revenge for the mistreatment of its arrested leader Ranjan Daimary and the killing of "innocent Bodo youths" by the security forces.|||
|14 July 2002||West Maligaon forest village relief camps, Kokrajhar District||Sspected NDFB militants kill 9 Adivasis, injure 5 others||SATP|
|17 August 2002||near Sarbhog, Barpeta District||NDFB militants kill a school teacher||SATP|
|21 August 2002||Maladhara, Goalpara District||NDFB militants kill four police personnel and a civilian driver, injure 17 more||SATP|
|23 October 2002||Deosankar Reserve Forest, Dhubri district||NDFB militants fire on a group of two woodcutters, killing two|
|27 October 2002||Datgiri village, Kokrahjar District||NDFB militants kill 22 civilians||SATP|
|29 August 2010||Gamani, near Bhalukpong||NDFB militants kidnap two goods train drivers Nirmal Chandra Borgohain and Abhijit Siring Phukan, demand ₹ 1 crore (10 million) as ransom|||
|26 April 2003||Taijouguri village, Kokrajhar District||Suspected NDFB militants kill 4 members (including two children) of the family of a former colleague||SATP|
|18 July 2003||Dwimguri village, Kokrajhar District||NDFB militants kill 4 persons they suspect to be government informers||SATP|
|2 October 2004||Makrijhora, Dhubri District||NDFB militants open indiscriminate firing at a busy market, killing 16 people and injuring 20 others||SATP|
|4 October 2004||Gelapukhuri village, Sonitpur District||NDFB militants kill six civilians, injure 7 others||SATP|
|5 October 2004||Jalabila village, Dhubri District||Suspected NDFB militants shoot dead 10 civilians, injure 7 others||SATP|
|1 December 2004||Lutubari, West Garo Hills, Meghalaya||NDFB miltants kill 5 villagers and injure another||SATP|
|21 May 2007||Udalguri District||NDFB cadres abduct five security force personnel and a civilian. The civilian Babul Kalita was found dead on 22 May. The other five were found dead in the Belsiri Nala (West Kameng District, Arunachal Pradesh) on 29 May.||SATP|
|16 March 2008||Dhaolabari Ashuline, near Kokrajhar||NDFB militants shoot dead Bigrai Basumatary alias Belaibe, the secretary of the surrendered NDFB Welfare Association||SATP|
|30 October 2008||Guwahati and neighbouring areas||2008 Assam bombings: NDFB cadres were suspected to have executed the attacks planned by ULFA and other groups.||SATP|
|30 June 2009||Naharani Grant village, Sontipur District||NDFB militants shoot dead four persons of a family: Munna Pal (30), his wife Subhapati Pal (35), his younger brother Tunna Pal (30) and his son Pankaj Pal (3)||SATP|
|4 October 2009||Bhimajuli||NDFB-ATF kills 12 people in Bhimajuli Massacre|||
|8–9 November 2010||Assam||NDFB-ATF militants kill 22 people in spearate attacks. On 8 November, the militants killed 19 people, including 13 Hindi speakers. Several others were injured, one of whom died the next day. The next day, they killed two Hindi-speaking Muslims in Ultapani, Kokrajhar District, and a cycle mechanic Paran Mandal in Chirang District. Earlier on November 1, the NDFB had threatened to kill 20 or more people for every NDFB cadre killed by Security Forces.||SATP,|
|14 March 2011||Between Bangladoba (Chirang District) and Ultapani (Kokrajhar District)||The militants of the Ranjan Daimary-led faction ambush patrolling troop of BSF, killing 8 jawans.|||
|13 August 2012||Chirang District||NDFB-RD militants shoot dead a Muslim labourer, and injure three others. The four victims were natives of West Bengal, and were returning from Bhutan.||SATP|
|13 November 2012||Harishinga, Sonitpur District||NDFB-RD militants kill a tea planter Adilur Rahman, and injure his bodyguard Motilal Tirkey||SATP|
|27 January 2014||Mauriapur village, Sonitpur District||NDFB-S militants ambush a police convoy, killing ASP Gulzar Hussain and injuring 5 other policemen. The police convoy was returning from a night-long operation against the group.||SATP|
|May 2014||Kokrajhar and Baksa Districts||May 2014 Assam violence: 32 Muslims were killed in a series of attacks. The government blamed NDFB-Songbijit faction for the attacks. The NDFB denied any involvement in the killings, and stated that the government agencies were behind the attacks.|||
|August 2014||Chirang district||A 16-year-old girl was dragged, beaten and shot at point blank range at least nine times in front of her parents|||
|December 2014||Sontipur and Kokrajhar districts||December 2014 Assam violence: NDFB militants killed over 80 tribals. According to police, this was in response to the intensified operation by the security forces.|||
|August 2016||Kokrajhar district||At least 14 people were killed and 20 injured when heavily armed militants opened fire in the Tinali Market area, a few kilometres away from Kokrajhar before fleeing the scene. Police suspect the involvement of National Democratic Front of Bodoland NDFB(S.|||
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