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KLO revival finger at state

Siliguri, Jan. 3: Former CPM minister Asok Bhattacharya today blamed the Trinamul Congress for the re-emergence of the Kamtapur Liberation Organisation and criticised the state’s decision to release some of the militants who had regrouped.

“Trinamul and the state government are responsible for the resurgence of the KLO. The outfit renewed terror activities in north Bengal, leading to loss of lives and injuries,” Bhattacharya told a news conference in the Darjeeling district CPM office here today.

“Till 2011, some senior Trinamul leaders, including Mukul Roy, had maintained contacts with KLO leaders and representatives of some other organisations that demanded Kamtapur state,” he added.

“Roy had met leaders like Banshibadan Burman (of Greater Cooch Behar Peoples’ Association) while the latter was in jail. When our colleagues were gunned down by the KLO in Dhupguri (August 2002), Trinamul leaders had said the incident was not a terrorist attack but a fallout of factionalism in our party. Hope the leaders realise their folly now,” Bhattacharya said.

According to the CPM leader, before the recent attacks allegedly organised by the KLO in Jalpaiguri and Malda, Trinamul leaders had been saying that there was nothing called the KLO and that “CPM simply raises the issue ahead of the polls”.

He criticised the state government’s move to release KLO leaders after Trinamul had come to power. “The Trinamul government has made another major mistake by releasing some hardcore KLO militants, who were arrested during operations by the Royal Bhutan Army in Bhutan in 2003.”

“These militants, including top leaders like Tom Adhikary, came out on bail, went underground and regrouped. The outfit had become inactive over the past five-six years, and resorted to terrorist activities again. The government will have to take responsibility. Some other militants took the opportunity and rejoined the outfit,” said Bhattacharya, also the convenor of the Darjeeling district Left Front.

He added that the state was yet to say clearly if the KLO was behind the recent attacks in north Bengal. “Except some comments from a few police officers, no government official or minister has said clearly that the KLO is behind these attacks. The hesitation on the part of the government to blame the KLO for the attacks has left us wondering whether the investigations are serious or just publicity stunts.”

He added that the district Left Front was planning to launch a month-long agitation in Siliguri subdivision. “We will hold rallies, meetings, submit memorandums and stage demonstrations across the subdivision to protest anomalies and corruption at the SJDA, Himul, NBSTC, SMC and the SMP. The programmes will begin on January 5 and continue till February 7.”