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KLO talks offer with riders

Jan. 10: Trinamul leaders in Jalpaiguri today said they were ready to act as mediators between the state government and the Kamtapur Liberation Organisation if the militant outfit gave up its arms struggle and the demand for a separate Kamtapur state.

The assertion from the ruling party comes hours before the day of the 24-hour general strike called by the KLO to protest the arrest of its leaders after the Jalpaiguri blast and the Malda bus firing on December 26 and 27, respectively.

“We will hold an extensive campaign from the district level to the village level tomorrow and urge people to defy the strike. We are ready to act as mediators to ensure talks are held between the state and the KLO. But those who are wielding arms and carrying out subversive activities throughout the region will have to abandon militancy and express willingness for talks,” Chandan Bhowmik, Jalpaiguri district Trinamul president, said.

“They should also drop the demand for a separate state so that their other demands can be discussed,” he added.

On January 6, the KLO had issued a press release announcing the strike in all six north Bengal districts and four districts in Assam on January 12.

The shutdown is to protest the arrests of Joymoti Roy and Santosh Roy, the sister and brother-in-law of KLO’s self-styled deputy commander-in-chief Tarun Thapa alias Narayan Roy, and some others.

Today, Kamtapur Peoples’ Party took out marches to the offices of the Jalpaiguri district magistrate and the subdivisional officer of Siliguri to protest the arrest of Nubas Burman, the KPP assistant general secretary, and Subhash Burman, a central committee member. Both were picked up in connection with the Jalpaiguri blast and the Malda firing.

The KPP leaders demonstrated and submitted memorandums addressed to the governor demanding the release of their leaders.

“We want a CBI probe into the bomb blast. We are against militancy and oppose the strike called by the KLO,” Subal Roy, a KPP central committee member, said in Jalpaiguri today. “Our leaders have been wrongly implicated in these cases. We want immediate release of those arrested.”

In Siliguri, Biman Bose, the state Left Front chairman, today, said: “So far, there has been no exercise by Trinamul to politically tackle the KLO issue. Since 2009, the party has entered into some sort of an understanding with the outfit and there was a common slogan “Uttarey Kamta, Dakshiney Mamata’ (Kamta in north and Mamata in south). The sole intention of Trinamul was to gain political mileage.”

“But the arrangement did not work and the activities of the KLO have resumed. We are also coming across allegations that the state is harassing innocent people by linking them to the KLO and the KPP,” he added.