| Two of the three militants, who were arrested. Picture by Diptendu Dutta
Siliguri, May 29: Based on specific information, Darjeeling police last night arrested three hardcore KLO militants and one of their aides from different areas of the Siliguri subdivision.
The arrests apparently disrupted a major assault plan that the organisation had drawn up for a target in the region. The police, however, did not disclose either the plan or the target.
Those arrested include 'second lieutenant' Naresh Barman, alias Nataraj, alias Nirmal of Pelkujote under Matigara police station. In KLO hierarchy, Naresh is two ranks below its chief Jiban Singh, who fled to Bangladesh during the flushout operation in 2003.
Dilip Barman, alias Sujan, and Saral Singh, alias Manoj, along with their helper Hardeb Singh were also caught in the night raid.
The inspector general of north Bengal police, K.L. Meena, today said while the three cadres were arrested from different parts of Siliguri, Hardeb was picked up from the Indo-Bangla border at Kajigach in North Dinajpur.
Two grenades, two active cellphones with Bangladesh numbers, a few SIM cards of local mobile service providers, some documents and two bicycles were seized from them, the police chief said.
'During interrogation, we came to know that the KLO militants used the Kajigach border to infiltrate into north Bengal,' he said. Naresh and Saral had crossed the border on May 25, while Dilip came here a month ago. 'They had a plan to attack a target in the region,' Meena said.
He said Dilip and Saral were new cadres who had undergone arms training at Chittagong in Bangladesh. Naresh, on the other hand, is an old hand who had been trained in Bhutan long ago. He had been arrested five years ago, but was let out on bail only to join the rebel outfit again.
In Bangladesh, the rebels had taken shelter in the hideout of the All Tripura Tiger Force, a banned organisation. 'There the ATTF charged Rs 1,000 per KLO militants as monthly rent,' Meena said.
Amid BSF allegation that the state police intelligence hardly coordinated with the border guards' network, yesterday's catch has come as a facesaver. 'The militants take advantage of this,' BSF director general A.K. Mitra had said yesterday.
Intelligence sources had said Jiban Singh had recently crossed the border and along with his family members stayed at Salt Lake in Calcutta for about 15 days before going back. When asked yesterday, Mitra did not deny anything.
To Meena, yesterday's arrests is one of the major success stories of the police. With this raid, the police have arrested about 20 KLO militants from the region in the past one year, he added.