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KLO threat halts trains

Kokrajhar, Dec. 27: Train services in the Northeast were affected for several hours today following a threat by the Kamtapur Liberation Organisation (KLO) militants in the lower Assam districts.

Following a rumour that a suspicious-looking object was found on the railway tracks between Fakiragram and Kokrajhar railway stations in Kokrajhar district this morning, train services were stopped.

A joint search operation was carried out along the tracks but no explosives were found. Train services resumed around noon.

The threat came a day after suspected KLO militant triggered a blast at Jalpaiguri in Bengal killing five persons and injuring several others.

The bomb, which was kept on a bicycle, went off on a road connecting Jalpaiguri town with National Highway 31.

A senior Railway Police Force (RPF) official in Kokrajhar said based on intelligence input, KLO cadres, including Kaka Pawan alias Hawa, Jamphoi, Mrinal, were planning attacks or blasts on bridges/culvert along railway tracks.

There were directives to conduct search operations so that no untoward incident could take place, he said, adding that “high alert was sounded after yesterday’s blast in Jalpaiguri”.

There is an order to activate village defence parties (VDP) and alert the special police official (SPO) deployed in railway bridges and culverts as well.

Several long-distance trains, including Rajdhani Express and Saraighat Express, were stranded at various railway stations for five hours.

Formed on December 28, 1995, the KLO has been demanding Kamtapur state comprising all six districts of north Bengal and four contiguous districts of Assam — Kokrajhar, Bongaigaon, Dhubri and Goalpara.

Police said the outfit could be trying to make its presence felt by carrying out the blast.

In 2006, seven persons were killed when a similar IED planted by the KLO exploded inside a compartment of the Haldibari-NJP passenger train at Belakoba station, around 20km from Jalpaiguri.

KLO celebrates its Foundation Day on December 28.