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regular-article-logo Friday, 19 July 2024

KLO militant arrested near border

The STF, sources said, conducted a joint raid with police and nabbed 26-year-old Dhankumar a.k.a. Swapan Barman in Kharibari police station limits of Darjeeling

Our Correspondent Siliguri Published 10.05.22, 01:38 AM
Representational image

Representational image File Photo

A suspected militant of the Kamtapur Liberation Organisation (KLO) — a banned terror outfit — was arrested on Sunday from Debiganj, some 35km from here, near the India-Nepal border, by the special task force of state police.

The STF, sources said, conducted a joint raid with police and nabbed 26-year-old Dhankumar a.k.a. Swapan Barman in Kharibari police station limits of Darjeeling district. He was planning to sneak into Nepal, STF officials said.

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Barman is from Basraja village of Cooch Behar district, police sources said.

Police said they had proof that Barman was in direct touch with self-styled KLO chief Jeevan Singha. Singha, wanted under the UAPA and in some other cases, is suspected to be in Myanmar.

“Certain documents have been seized from him (Barman), which prove his association with the outfit. We have also scanned his call records and have found that he had direct contact with Jeevan Singha,” said a police officer.

“We have come to know that he was instructed to try and expand the activities of KLO, find new recruits and gather funds through extortion,” the source added.

Police sources said Barman took training at a camp of one of the factions of the NSCN in Nagaland and was then asked by Singha to go to Nepal.

On Monday, Barman was produced at the additional chief judicial magistrate’s court here and sent to judicial custody for a day.

A video clip of an armed youth in army fatigues speaking in Rajbanshi surfaced on social media on Monday. The youth said he was Prashanta Barman of Assam who had recently joined the KLO and they wanted statehood. The Telegraph has not verified the authenticity of the clip.

“We want the Centre to provide us separate statehood under the merger agreement signed between the India government and the princely state of Cooch Behar,” he said. The Telegraph has not independently verified the authenticity of the video.

In February this year, the STF had earlier arrested two other KLO militants from Siliguri and Phansidewa. During interrogation, they came to know that the outfit was trying to regroup in north Bengal.

Recently, chief minister Mamata Banerjee had iterated that her government would continue to take a stern stand against the militant outfit. In a virtual administrative meeting last month, she had asked the police and administration to be on the alert while asserting that she would never sit for any talks with KLO leaders.

She also added that her government had given jobs to hundreds of former militants.

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