The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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KPP mulls Naxalite pact

Siliguri, Sept. 23: In an attempt to give its waning appeal the much-needed impetus, the Kamtapur Peoples’ Party is thinking of forging an “issue-based alliance” with some Naxalite groups in the region to launch a political campaign against “police atrocities”.

The KPP brass said the “move” was prompted by an assessment of ground realities in large parts of rural north Bengal in the wake of “police harassment” of party activists.

Senior KPP leaders had earlier voiced their concern regarding the way the police force was being handled by the government.

Party insiders said roping in some Naxalite outfits will give them an “extra edge” in putting up resistance to the state’s “repressive tactics”. The KPP believes the Naxalites still enjoy a “sneaking sympathy” among a significant section of the people, especially in remote rural hamlets of the region.

The “move” assumes significance in view of the panchayat elections slated early next year. “It serves our greater interest to unitedly fight, with the Naxalites on our side, against the state government machinery. The situation demands a united resolve,” said Mohanlal Ganesh, a senior KPP leader.

Party chief Atul Roy told The Telegraph: “Issue-based tie-ups with parties like the CPI-ML (Liberation) will stand us in good stead in view of our renewed efforts to breathe more fire into the Kamtapuri agitation.”

“Talks with the Naxalite leaders have begun and we are planning to send feelers to them soon. But about 1,500 of our activists are lodged in various jails of north Bengal. Police are after the KPP activists for reasons best known to them. That the CPI-ML (Liberation) has come out so strongly against the police excesses perpetrated on the Kamtapuris is a welcome gesture on their part.”

The Liberation’s state committee secretary, Kartik Pal, however, made it clear that his party doesn’t support the Kamtapur cause but stands behind the KPP because of the government’s harsh stance.

“We sympathise with the KPP on specific issues like language and police harassment. But we don’t support its demand for statehood,” he said.

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