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KLO leaders go underground again

Tom Adhikary,a top North Bengal-based leader of Kamtapur Liberation Organisation (KLO),and five other senior leaders of the outfit have reportedly gone underground again.

Tom Adhikary,a top North Bengal-based leader of Kamtapur Liberation Organisation (KLO),and five other senior leaders of the outfit have reportedly gone underground again,ostensibly to launch a fresh separatist movement.

In recent weeks,the police tried to locate them but failed. Intelligence reports stated that they might be in a new camp in the Bhutan jungles.

Tom was released along with six other KLO leaders in 2011 after Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee announced a list of 52 political prisoners whose cases were withdrawn by the government. Milton Burman,another senior KLO leader,was also granted bail in 2011.

Annuj Sharma,IG,North Bengal,said: “Tom and some other senior leaders of KLO have disappeared. They are not available at their homes and no one could give their whereabouts. We have started efforts to trace them. But we are not sure whether they have started reorganising.”

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Milton,however,is still over ground. He said over the phone that Tom,who was disappointed with the government’s attitude,has been planning to restart the movement. “Tom and five other KLO leaders have decided to start the movement as their bid to come into the mainstream was not given heed. There is a rumour that Tom and the others disappeared as they did not get a rehabilitation package from the government like the Maoists got. But that is not true,” he added.

“The released KLO leaders never asked for a rehabilitation package. All we wanted was that our chief Jibon Singh be given a chance to join the mainstream. If he does not come back to the mainstream,there is always a chance that the movement might resurface. We,therefore,appealed to the district administration to negotiate with Jibon for surrender. But we were ignored. We were told to seek the political route. But yet again,there was no response. So they have decided to go underground again,” said the 38-year-old former KLO leader.

It was learnt that the released KLO leaders had approached the district magistrate of Coochbehar in May and sought the government’s role in negotiating with Jibon,who is willing to surrender if the government offers a “proper surrender policy”.

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“I received the application from the KLO leaders months ago. I forwarded the application to the state home department,” said Mohan Gandhi,DM,Coochbehar.

After that,Tom and the other KLO leaders took shelter in lower Assam,where they held several meetings with Jibon,police sources said. They have been trying to start arms training camps and a recruitment drive,said a senior police official.

First published on: 19-08-2012 at 02:32:11 am
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