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KPP leader arrested in Jalpaiguri blast case

- Firing aimed at Malda bus done using AK-47 and 9mm pistols, say police

Dec. 31: Jalpaiguri police today nabbed Dipankar Singha, a Darjeeling district Kamtapur People’s Party leader from Siliguri subdivision, in connection with the bomb blast at Bajrapara on December 26.

Six people died in the blast.

Dipankar, police said, was involved in several cases of snatching and abduction. He was produced at the chief judicial magistrate’s court in Jalpaiguri today and sent to police custody for five days.

“We have arrested Dipankar Singha on the basis of information gathered from two others arrested in connection with the blast,” said Amit P. Javalgi, the superintendent of police of Jalpaiguri. “Being an active member of the KPP, he had connections with many KLO leaders and workers. We are also trying to find out whether he was involved in incidents of abduction done by the KLO.”

Dipankar is the third person to be arrested by police in connection with the Bajrapara blast case — the other two being KPP assistant general secretary Nubas Burman and former KLO militant Chandan Roy. He was arrested in Gurudayaljote, which is in Khoribari in Siliguri subdivision.

“I have no links with the KLO,” Dipankar said today. “I am, however, an active KPP worker,” he told newsmen while being escorted to court.

The Kamtapur Liberation Organisation (KLO) and the KPP have the same demand of a separate Kamtapuri state.

In Malda, where the police have arrested a KPP central committee member and three party workers in connection with the firing at a bus on December 27, police said they had obtained some more information on the attack.

“During investigation, we have learnt that around five or six persons came on two motorcycles to the spot (in Bamungola). They fired from AK-47 assault rifles and nine mm pistols. These types of firearms are usually used by Malkhan Singh (the self-styled chief of the KLO). Villagers of some areas have also told us that Malkhan carries an AK-47,” Kalyan Mukherjee, the superintendent of police of Malda, said today.

“We learnt that Malkhan had rejoined KLO and has formed a new group comprising fresh recruits from different corners of Malda district. He has managed to obtain some arms and ammunition and using this group, was carrying out subversive activities over past seven-eight months in Malda,” the officials said. “We are now collecting information on the new members of his team.”

Javalgi said the Jalpaiguri police would induct 5,400 youths, mostly from KLO hotbeds like Mainaguri, Dhupguri, Kumargram, Falakata and Rajganj as civic police. “The recruitment process will begin in the next year. They would be working on contractual basis for 20 days a month and would be posted across the district,” Javalgi said.

KPP president Atul Roy, who held a news conference in Siliguri today, trained his guns at north Bengal development minister Gautam Deb, saying he was the “mastermind” desperate to crush the movement for a separate Kamtapur state.

Roy said: “We feel that the north Bengal development minister is the mastermind behind such arrests (of KPP activists and leaders), and is hatching the plans to crush our democratic movement for a separate Kamtapur state and for the recognition of the Kamtapuri (Rajbangshi) language.”

Minister Deb, when told about Roy’s comments, said: “Police officials are investigating cases in Malda and Jalpaiguri. All those who have been arrested have links with the incidents. Our government always upholds democracy and there is no question of oppression. We would, however, not allow militancy to raise its ugly head in north Bengal. If anybody has any grievance, we are open for talks but will not allow any movement aimed at dividing the state.”