| Bhattacharjee at the NBMCH. A Telegraph picture
Siliguri, Nov. 28: Chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee today blamed “outside forces” for the Belakoba train blast saying the attack was masterminded by a “major terrorist outfit with the help of local conspirators”.
Holding the KLO and its “mentors” responsible for the explosion, which ripped apart a coach of passenger train last week killing seven and injuring more than 50 people, Bhattacharjee admitted that critical gaps existed in the state’s intelligence network.
“We cannot completely wipe off militancy from the region due to some factors like the presence of Ulfa (nearby), which has always acted as a guide to the KLO. Though the first phase of the KLO movement is behind us, the outfit is trying to regroup again,” the chief minister said. “The outside forces are disturbing our initiatives to end the crisis. This blast is an indication of their existence.”
The comment is significant as the chief minister has of late been saying that Bangla militant outfits were behind terrorist activities in Bengal. Today, however, he refused to define specifically what he meant by “outside forces”. Instead, he added that the devices used in the blast prove that they had been brought in from outside. “Forensic experts were here and once they complete their analysis, things will become clearer,” he said.
The chief minister also said that contradictory to the recent efforts by militants to refurbish their outfit, the jailed KLO leaders are pleading for their release. “They have promised to return to the mainstream. We have passed on instructions to screen the cases pending against each of them,” the chief minister added.
At a meeting with administrative and police officials last night, some decisions, like strengthening ties with the Assam police have been taken. The decisions, Bhattacharjee said, would be implemented by December this year.
The chief minister also visited the North Bengal Medical College and Hospital (NBMCH), where he met the 15 blast victims.
A former NDFB militant, Addison Sangma, was arrested today from Dhubri on charges of giving shelter to rebels suspected to have been involved in the Belakoba blast, reports our Dhubri correspondent.
Sources said a Bengal police team led by DIG Thyaga Raju of Jalpaiguri division interrogated Sangma today, who confessed that he had given shelter to the militants.