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Assam, Bengal cops move to tackle KLO

KLO general secretary Kailash Koch sits on the right with his face covered. Telegraph picture

Guwahati, Dec. 29: Assam police will operate in close coordination with their Bengal counterparts to curb the upsurge in militant activities of a resurgent Kamtapur Liberation Organisation (KLO).

Though the KLO has denied its role, the outfit’s hand is suspected in Jalpaiguri blast on Thursday that claimed five lives and left many injured.

The additional director-general of Assam police (law and order), A.P. Raut, told The Telegraph today that the state police are coordinating with Bengal police to effectively deal with KLO militants.

Raut said the issue of improving coordination between the two states’ police to deal with KLO was discussed at a meeting between Assam DGP J.N. Choudhury and his Bengal counterpart G.M.P. Reddy in Calcutta on December 13.

He said superintendents of police of the border districts in Assam are in regular touch with their counterparts in north Bengal to prevent transborder activities of the KLO as the outfit is active in both the states.

The ADG said currently the KLO is mostly active in Dhubri and Kokrajhar districts and some parts of Bongaigaon and Chirang districts in Assam.

There have been reports of the KLO’s involvement in extortion, abduction and killings in the Koch Rajbongshi-dominated areas of lower Assam. The outfit was involved in the abduction and murder of superintendent engineer of agriculture department, Gadapani Pathak, on May 2, 2012, in Bongaigaon district.

In Bengal on August 19, suspected KLO militants triggered a blast on a bus in Jalpaiguri’s Barobisha, which is close to the Assam border. On August 30, a bomb, suspected to have been planted by the KLO in Alipurduar in Bengal, went off killing a bomb squad constable who was trying to defuse it without wearing a bomb suit.

A source in the special branch of Assam police said the KLO went into hibernation after it was driven out of its camps in southern Bhutan during Operation All Clear in 2003-04.

Since the past couple of years, it has shown signs of regrouping and is trying to come to the forefront again with the help of NDFB’s Songbijit faction, Ulfa (I), NSCN (K) and some Manipur-based militant groups.

He said currently, the outfit’s leaders are sheltered in Myanmar.

The general secretary of the KLO, Kailash Koch, in his speech, released to the media on the occasion of the outfit’s 20th foundation day yesterday, vowed to continue its struggle “to liberate Kamtapur from India” and extended his greetings to CorCom of Manipur, NSCN (K), NDFB (S), Ulfa (I) and NLFT. CorCom is the coordination committee formed by six militant groups of Manipur. The KLO is demanding a separate Kamtapur comprising six districts of north Bengal and four of Assam.