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Ready for talks if state wants: Malkhan

Malda, April 27: KLO leader Malkhan Singh today said he was ready to sit for talks if the state wanted and he would arrange for the militant outfit’s chief, Jiban Singh, to be present during such a dialogue.

Malkhan was arrested from a forest in Habibpur’s Jamalpur on April 13. He was produced in a court here today after spending 14 days in police custody.

“We want the state government to invite us for talks. Our movement for a separate state of Kamtapur is a political one. Many of my comrades are behind bars. If such talks are organised, I will bring our chief Jiban Singh for the dialogue. Many of our members have been implicated in false cases. They have been wrongfully linked to fake note rackets. We want to return to the mainstream,” Malkhan told reporters while being taken to the court lock up today.

Chief judicial magistrate Amitabha Das remanded him in police custody for a day in connection with a case registered in 2013 under the Arms Act.

He will be produced in court tomorrow.

According to police sources, in the past two weeks, Malkhan, 32, has given out information on KLO network. “He has informed the investigators about his links. He has said that in 2003, after being chased by the Royal Bhutan Army, he had returned to Malda. His primary aim was to spread his network in Malda,” said a source.

At the time of the arrest on April 13, a German Heckler, Koch rifle and ammunition were seized from the militant.

Malkhan, whose real name is Madhab Mondol, has told the police that he was involved in the 2006 shooting of DYFI leader Shekhar Singh and he was responsible for the murder of BJP leader Nripen Mondal during the 2013 panchayat polls.

Malkhan was also involved in the Habibpur private bus shooting on December 27 last year, sources said.

The KLO leader accused the state government of stalling the process of negotiation that was started by the Left Front. “We sat for talks with the government after many of us had surrendered (in 2003). There were talks of rehabilitation packages. But suddenly, the government became disinterested,” Malkhan said.

In 2004, the Left Front government had launched a rehabilitation package under the Rashtriya Sam Vikas Yojana to train surrendered KLO members and help them with self-employment.