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Govt’s plan to stem KLO influence

Gautam Deb

Siliguri, Jan. 1: The Trinamul Congress government has decided to counter the rise of the KLO by initiating development projects in the backward regions of north Bengal and launching campaigns to inform people about the state’s development plans.

North Bengal development minister Gautam Deb today said: “If the Mamata Banerjee government can mitigate problems in Jungle Mahal and the Darjeeling hills, the grievances of others (Rajbangshis) in north Bengal can also be redressed through talks and consistent development process.”

“Our party (Trinamul Congress) intends to take up an elaborate campaign across the rural areas and apprise people, particularly the youths, of the employment opportunities created by the government. Meetings, peace marches and other events will be conducted across north Bengal to dissuade youths from being influenced by militants. Trinamul will drive home the point that the government is open to talks and can look into any demand, other than that of a separate state,” said the minister.

According to Trinamul insiders, the government will tackle the KLO militancy with the same strategy it has applied for the hills and Jungle Mahal. “Our government will stand by the common people to ensure their safety but will take on trouble-makers. Those planning to spread tension will not be spared. Changes have been effected in the hierarchy of police in north Bengal and a team of experienced officers has been formed. These are clear indications of the state’s strategy,” said a Trinamul source.

The party, in its campaigns, will highlight the recruitment of rural youth into the civic police on contract. “In total, 5,400 youths will be inducted into the civic police in Jalpaiguri district. They will work for 20 days a month. Our attempt is to make the Rajbangshi youths realise that the state is sincere about their welfare,” said the source.

He said Trinamul would also try to induct workers of the Kamtapur Peoples’ Party, provided their antecedents were clean.