Jeevan Singha, the self-styled chief of the proscribed Kamtapur Liberation Organisation, has released a video, asserting that the outfit will continue to fight for a separate state comprising several north Bengal districts.
The video of six minutes and 40 seconds was shot at an undisclosed location.
The video has been made public after a section of BJP leaders, including MPs, rooted for a separate north Bengal state or a Union territory status for the region.
Speaking in Rajbanshi language, Singha said: “We have faced atrocities in the past 74 years and want to reiterate that our struggle will continue. All of us should stand together and those who are against it (separate Kamtapur state) should move to the other bank of the Ganga.”
The Ganga that has Malda on the left bank and Murshidabad on the other side marks the geographic division of north and south Bengal.
Singha also spoke about Ananta Maharaj, leader of a faction of the Greater Cooch Behar Peoples’ Party (GCPA) and another proponent of the Kamtapur state. He stays in neighbouring Assam now.
“Ananta Maharaj has immense popularity among Kamtapuri (Rajbanshi) people. His arguments for the greater Cooch Behar state cannot be denied. That is why the Bengal government has forced him to stay away,” said Singha.
This is the first time in recent years that the KLO has openly backed a GCPA leader. The KLO and the GCPA generally refrain from commenting on the other leaders or programmes.
The KLO chief said Ananta Maharaj had always backed the BJP and Union home minister Amit Shah had met him in Assam in February this year, before reaching Cooch Behar to attend a public rally.
Trinamul Congress leader Gautam Deb said on Wednesday that the party would soon launch political activities to thwart the BJP’s attempts to “divide Bengal”.
Additional reporting by Anirban Choudhury in Alipurduar and Bireswar Banerjee in Siliguri