Jalpaiguri cycle blast: What is Kamtapur Liberation Organisation (KLO)

The cycle bomb blast in Jalpaiguri on Thursday that left five people dead and at least nine injured has pointed the 'suspicion needle' towards a lesser known banned militant outfit- Kamtapur Liberation Organisation (KLO).

It is believed that "cycle bombs" are trademark of KLO group. According to a report, top KLO leader Shyam Rai is suspected to have returned recently after being trained by NDFB (IK) in Myanmar.

In India, there are several organisations demanding for separate statehoods. Kamtapur Liberation Organisation (KLO) is one such militant outfit that came into existence on December 28, 1995 and since then it has been demanding for a separate statehood of North Bengal in the name of Kamatpur from the West Bengal.

With an initial strength of 60, it has now expanded to approximately 300 'active cadres'.

KLO is known to have close contacts with known militant organizations United Liberation Front of Assam (ULFA) who train them in order to gain foothold outside Assam or National Socialist Council of Nagaland-Isak-Muivah (NSCN- IM) and establishments in Bhutan and Bangladesh. It also receives support from Maoists and underground groups in the northeast.

With the Gorkha Janamukti Mocha(GJM) demand of separate statehood for Darjeeling Hills, KLO is also trying to intensify its stir by trying to gain attention of the political parties.

In the demand for carving out of separate Kamtapur state, they want total six districts- six from West Bengal (Cooch Behar, Darjeeling, Jalpaiguri, North and South Dinajpur and Malda) and common border districts of Assam (Kokrajhar, Bongaigaon, Dhubri and Goalpara).

It is believed that "cycle bombs" are trademark of KLO group.

P Burman, President of the KLO told a media house, "On the other side, Government is not ready to listen us though it is historical fact that all six districts are from old Kamtapur state, that remained under the ruling of Kamtapuris, the aborigines of north Bengal. Government must accept that."

The outfit is reportedly most active in Alipurduar in Jalpaiguri and the Shiliguri sub-division of Darjeeling.

Media reports also suggests that KLO has close links with Maoist insurgents in Nepal and they have also set up camps there.

Besides, Tripura Peoples Democratic Front (TPDF) and Manipur Peoples' Liberation Front (MPLF) are also known to have close ties with KLO.

In 2010, West Bengal Government had launched a special scheme called 'Rashtriya Sam Vikash Yojana (RSVY)' at Jalpaiguri to rehabilitate the surrendered rebels of KLO. Out of the 150 and odd surrendered KLO rebels, 52 reportedly attended the rehabilitation programme mooted under RSVY.

KLO, prior to its ban, used to train its activists in the jungles bordering Assam, Bhutan and Bangladesh.

KLO observes its martyrs' day on December 26 and its foundation day on December 28.

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