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regular-article-logo Saturday, 20 July 2024

Bengal cops on alert after KLO release videos

Police suspect the Kamtapur Liberation Organisation, which was inactive in recent years, is trying to regroup

Our Bureau Cooch Behar/Siliguri Published 27.07.22, 01:13 AM
In the past few weeks, Jeevan Singha, the self-styled KLO chief, had reportedly released three videos on social media, criticising CM Mamata Banerjee

In the past few weeks, Jeevan Singha, the self-styled KLO chief, had reportedly released three videos on social media, criticising CM Mamata Banerjee File Picture

Police are closely monitoring the movement of people along the interstate border of Bengal and Assam in the light of the back-to-back releases of videos by the Kamtapur Liberation Organisation (KLO), a banned terror outfit formed in Alipurduar in 1993.

In the past few weeks, Jeevan Singha, the self-styled KLO chief, had reportedly released three videos on social media, criticising chief minister Mamata Banerjee and Trinamul all-India general secretary Abhishek Banerjee, and reasserting the KLO’s demand for a separate Koch-Kamtapur state. Singha is suspected to be in Myanmar.

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Police suspect the KLO, which was inactive in recent years, is trying to regroup.

The outfit had indulged in terrorism around 20 years ago. In recent years, no major activity by it had been noticed.

“However, during the past few months, a number of trained KLO militants have been arrested. It was found that the outfit is recruiting youths again and is trying to extort money from the business community of this region. Now the outfit is releasing videos. That is why police and intelligence agencies are on the alert,” the source added.

“There are instructions to see if anybody is moving towards the Northeast without a purpose. Recently, there had been some arrests in the Northeast .Youths of north Bengal, who were reportedly going to join the outfit, were nabbed,” a source said.

In north Bengal, over 500 former militants and linkmen of the KLO have returned to mainstream. Among them are former close aides of Singha. Many are now serving as home guards in the districts.

Former KLO militants, asked about the recent videos, said they are waiting for peace talks. Last year, Himanta Biswa Sarma, the chief minister of Assam, had hinted that the KLO leadership was interested in peace talks with the Centre.

“We are in favour of peace talks as it can resolve our longstanding demand. We have returned to the mainstream and want him (Singha) to return,” said Pulastya Barman, a former militant.

“We suspect the BJP is instigating the KLO to create tension in north Bengal. People here are not with them,” said Girindranath Barman, district chairman of the party in Cooch Behar.

Nikhil Ranjan Dey, the BJP MLA of Cooch Behar South, rubbished Trinamul’s charge. “Trinamul must remember that during BJP’s era many such outfits of Northeast joined the mainstream via peace talks,” he said.

“Our party and the central government always try to upkeep peace in any region,” said Dey.

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