April 26: Raids on suspected militant hideouts after the abduction of a fuel pump owner’s son from Mainaguri yielded two Kamtapur Liberation Organisation (KLO) militants, one of whom is suspected to be involved in the kidnapping.
Kailash Roy, alias Lob, was picked up from Dhulagaon in Cooch Behar’s Alipurduar while Ramesh Burman, also known as Bhupen Kayat, was arrested from Ghatparchilbari near Alipurduar.
Police had spread their net wide in Cooch Behar and Assam after raids yesterday in Jalpaiguri drew a blank. Pratik Banerjee was taken away at gunpoint by four persons, reportedly belonging to the KLO, from his Mainaguri service station on the busy Dhupguri Road on Thursday evening.
Alipurduar additional superintendent of police R. Shivkumar said Burman was in all probability involved in the abduction of Banerjee.
Jalpaiguri police superintendent Siddh Nath Gupta said the two were being interrogated to ascertain whether both were part of the gang of four that abducted Banerjee. “Kailash, we know, had a hand in an attempt to kidnap the son of a local CPM leader, Subal Mondol, in Falakata last month. We are intensely carrying out the interrogation,” Gupta said.
Shivkumar told reporters at Alipurduar they had specific information that Ramesh was trained by Ulfa militants at their Dalimbasti training camp in Bhutan. “Out of a batch of 66 KLO militants, only 16 were handpicked and sent to the training camp and Ramesh was among them,” he said.
Ramesh, who was paraded before reporters in the afternoon, gave details of his stint with the KLO. In 2001, Kalia, a front-ranking KLO militant, took him to the Bhutan camp where he underwent training in handling firearms and explosives for three months. “The political classes were taken by Milton Barma, Anup Roy and Nilambar Rajbanshi and it was in the Ulfa headquarters, deep in the Bhutan forests, where I met Pranati Deka, senior Ulfa member, as well as the chief of the outfit, Paresh Barua,” Ramesh said.
He said an AK-56 rifle was issued to him after he was appointed as a security guard to Sandhikhan, a self-styled Ulfa major.
Claiming that he was adept at handling assault rifles, explosives and rocket-propelled grenades, Ramesh admitted that he was involved in an encounter with the army at Badlapara in Assam. The Ulfa camps had anti-aircraft guns which could bring down helicopters, he told the press.
At Mainaguri, businessmen went on a 12-hour bandh today, demanding that police rescue Banerjee within 24 hours. They also took out a rally demanding police action.