regular-article-logo Tuesday, 23 July 2024

Talks with Centre nearly over: Kamtapur Liberation Organisation

Trinamul Congress asks why state government is out of loop

Our Correspondent Siliguri Published 03.01.23, 03:24 AM
Representational image.

Representational image. File picture

A Rajbanshi leader based in Assam has claimed that the Kamtapur Liberation Organisation (KLO) has initiated peace talks with the Centre and is likely to ink a pact soon.

His claim has been backed by the proscribed militant outfit through a news release on Monday.


“Talks are in progress and we believe a peace treaty will be signed soon. It will be a major development for the Rajbanshi community. There are indications that some demands of the community would be met,” said Bisawajit Roy, who heads a faction of the All Koch Rajbanshi Students’ Union in Assam.

Within hours of Roy’s assertion, the KLO release cited that talks with the Centre were “almost complete”.

The release, issued by Surya Koch, another self-styled leader of the outfit, said there would be “major changes” in this region.

The development comes a year after Himanta Biswa Sarma, the chief minister of Assam, invited the KLO — a militant outfit of Rajbanshi youths formed in Alipurduar back in the 1990s over the demand for separate statehood — to return to the mainstream.

“In Continuation with Govt of India’s efforts to bring lasting peace in the region, I welcome the desire of KLO leadership to join mainstream at an early date to resolve all issues through political dialogues. Govt of Assam would fully reciprocate this goodwill measure,” Biswa Sarma tweeted in December 2021.

The KLO showed interest in talks. Its self-styled chief Jeevan Singha released an audio message for Biswa Sarma last July, mentioning the names of five persons, including Roy, as mediators on the KLO’s behalf in the peace talks.

Roy’s assertion and the KLO’s claim led to ripples in Trinamul’s north Bengal leadership on Monday.

Trinamul leaders here pointed out that without involving the Bengal government in the entire process, no peace pact with the KLO was possible.

They said that the outfit was demanding a part of Bengal, which the Trinamul-led state government was completely against.

“Also, Jeevan Singha and some others have cases pending against them in our state, including serious charges like UPA. How can the Centre go ahead with the Assam government to ink a treaty with the outfit without involving the Bengal government? We suspect the BJP is playing the divisive card again for political interest,” said a senior Trinamul functionary.

A few months back, the Mamata Banerjee government came up with a rehabilitation policy for KLO militants. Kailash Koch, who was the self-styled KLO general secretary, and his wife surrendered before state police.

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