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KPP hurls liar slur at chief minister

Siliguri, Sept. 2: Kamtapur People’s Party chief Atul Roy today branded chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee a “liar’’ and accused him of “misleading” people for linking the party with the Kamtapur Liberation Organisation.

Denying any connection with the militant outfit, Roy said the chief minister was indulging in “political chicanery” to tarnish the image of the party. He said the KPP is a political organisation fighting democratically for recognition of the cultural identity and language of the Rajbanshis in north Bengal.

Referring to Bhattacharjee’s speech in Dhupguri yesterday, Roy said: “He made an utterly baseless allegation that we are raising funds for the KLO. He seems to have lost his sense of discretion.”

On the other hand, Roy said the CPM “squeezed” money from people “in the name of raising party funds”.

The KPP leadership, long living in the shadows of the KLO, is worried about the political fallout of the August 17 strike on the CPM office in Dhupguri. The leaders feel such attacks would alienate supporters and weaken the Kamtapuri movement.

KPP leaders said they fear a police crackdown on the political organisation on suspicion of its links with the KLO. They said the police are harassing KPP supporters in villages across the region.

Senior party leaders today held a meeting to discuss the fallout of the chief minister’s “false” charges. They felt his statements could provide the police a stick to beat the KPP with.

“The chief minister is a liar. Otherwise, he would not have tarred the KPP and KLO with the same brush,” Roy said. “The police have fed him with such distorted facts and he relies too much on the force.”

Roy said the chief minister’s public remarks would embolden the police further to “pick up and torture the KPP supporters”. The party will soon submit memorandums to deputy Prime Minister L.K. Advani and Governor Viren J. Shah against “police atrocities on the pretext of tracking down the KLO militants”.

The chief minister had yesterday accused the KPP and the KLO of misguiding the Rajbanshis.

“Where were they when we were carrying out land reforms in north Bengal' It was the Left Front which had distributed land to the landless Rajbanshis,” he had said at the rally in Dhupguri.

Bhattacharjee added that the local problems had to be solved “politically and not at gun-point”.

The KPP leadership today decided to launch a campaign against the police harassment. “This is the only way to fight the brute force of the police and save our workers who are being picked up and tortured,” Roy said.

The party leadership fears that the police, taking advantage of the Dhupguri strike, would crack down on the KPP as it had emerged as a rival of the CPM in the region.

The leaders said the KPP had always eschewed violence and functioned “within the framework of the country’s Constitution”.

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