The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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KLO, Ulfa face joint drive spectre

Siliguri, Dec. 1: North Bengal police have sent “dossiers” of the top 20 Kamtapur Liberation Organisation militants to Assam police, prior to a joint meeting called in Guwahati on Tuesday to discuss ways to curb militancy in border areas of both states.

The police top brass from the two states plan to launch joint operations to flush out the KLO and Ulfa, working in tandem along the Assam-Bengal-Bhutan borders.

“We have long felt the need for joint police operations against the militants to curb growing militancy in the region,” inspector-general of police (north) Bhupinder Singh said.

Police on either side of the common border said it would be a “big blow” to the militants if the probable entry and exit points were watched, if not sealed. Increased co-ordination between the Assam and north Bengal police is the key to solving the militancy problems plaguing the region, they added.

Source said the police top brass would, among other things, discuss exchanging intelligence gathered by different agencies in Bengal and Assam. Police on both sides have long cited a lack of credible intelligence as the main reason for their failure to crack down on the militants shuttling between the states.

Singh said they had sent the dossiers on the KLO militants to keep the Assam police informed of the organisation ahead of the meeting. “There is a great need for the joint combing operations along the Assam-Bengal-Bhutan borders,” he added.

Intelligence reports suggested that the relationship between the KLO and Ulfa has “soured” recently. As a result, the KLO is now trying to “make friends with” other militant organisations in the Northeast.

“Chances of spotting and capturing the KLO activists are far greater as they are now bound to send emissaries across the border to Assam to get in touch with other militant groups,” a state intelligence branch official said.

The increasing coordination with the Assam police has started paying off. The north Bengal police recently learnt a lot about the KLO’s modus operandi from Ramu Mech, an Ulfa militant, arrested by the Assam police.

“Previously, we used to get information only from the arrested KLO cadre. But we are now getting more information on the organisation from the militants arrested in Assam thanks to the Assam police,” an officer said.

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