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KLO chief says Bengal BJP MPs support separate Koch-Kamtapur state – Mrit News

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Video released with KLO chief and supporters carrying weapons and donning military fatigues comes ahead of CM Mamata Banerjee’s visit to north Bengal

Video released with KLO chief and supporters carrying weapons and donning military fatigues comes ahead of CM Mamata Banerjee’s visit to north Bengal

A video by separatist group Kamtapur Liberation Organisation’s (KLO) chief Jibon Singha dubbing West Bengal government as a “bahirgata (outsider)” has created ripples in political circles of the State. What has further created a flutter is that the separatist leader in the video message named three MPs of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) namely Cooch Behar MP Nisith Pramanik, Jalpaiguri MP Jayanta Roy and Alipurduar MP John Barla as supporters of the separate Koch-Kamtapur state.

Set up in 1995, KLO has been demanding a separate Kamtapur state carved out from certain districts of north Bengal and lower Assam, areas that were earlier under the Cooch Behar kingdom. Though the organization remains inactive on ground, the video has come ahead of Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s visit to north Bengal. While it could not be ascertained when the video was shot or uploaded on the internet, Jibon Singha along with his supporters is seen holding weapons, dressed in military fatigues in a location that appears to be inside a forest. 

“Kochbihar (Cooch Behar) is a separate category state under the India Accession Treaty. John Barla, Nishith Pramanik, Jayant Roy, MPs and MLAs who have won from the region, support a separate Koch-Kamtapur state. The people of Koch-Kamtapur will form the greater Kochbihar or Kamtapur State,” Mr. Singha can be heard saying in the video.  The separatist leader dared Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee to set her foot in the region and warned of blood bath if she did so. In the video, the leader said that the people of the region did not believe in the development ushered in by Mamata Banerjee.

The KLO chief has earlier also released such videos demanding a separate State. In 2021, charges against Jibon singha were brought under UAPA Act.

The development evoked strong reactions from the Trinamool Congress leadership. Cooch Behar Trinamool Congress leader Partha Pratim Roy said that “it is a result of the dirty politics of the BJP”. Another TMC leader Jay Prakash Majumdar called it a ‘‘well-planned conspiracy of the BJP”.

BJP speaks in different voices

The State leadership of the BJP, however, said that it had nothing to do with Jibon Singha’s remarks. “The BJP does not support any such movement…The BJP wants to keep geographical sovereignty of the State intact. It is a law-and-order situation and the State government has to handle it,” State BJP spokesperson Samik Bhattachrya said. 

State BJP president Sukanta Majumdar also spoke in the same vein. He said that Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had good ties to KLO as she was giving jobs to the operatives of the separatist outfit. The West Bengal government in the past had also tried to bring KLO operatives to the mainstream.

Jalpiguri BJP MP Jayanta Roy, however, did not object to the separatist leader’s remark. “There is nothing wrong in demanding a separate State for North Bengal. It does not matter what name it is. If there is a separate State, it will be for all people of north Bengal, everyone in north Bengal is deprived,” the MP said.

Earlier Alipurduar MP John Barla had raised the demand for a separate State to be carved out of territories in north Bengal.  

A number of BJP MP and MLAs have often demanded a separate State to be carved out either from north Bengal or State’s Jangalmahal region in the State, areas where the party has significant influence compared to south Bengal. A section of party insiders believe that BJP will continue to attempt the tough balancing act of giving vent to hyper-local aspirations in north Bengal and Jangalmahal region to retain the seats the party won in 2019 in the 2024 Lok Sabha polls. BJP had won 18 of the 42 Lok Sabha seats in 2019.

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