Banned Assam Separatist Group Kamtapur Liberation Organization Inches To Peace Talks With Government


Banned Assam Separatist Group Inches To Peace Talks With Government

Founded in 1995, the KLO advocates for the creation of a Kamtapur state (File)

Guwahati:

The Kamtapur Liberation Organization – a banned separatist group active in western Assam and northern Bengal – is inching closer to resuming peace talks with the government.

The KLO was once allied to ULFA, or the United Liberation Front of Asom, in Bhutan and Myanmar, wants a separate Kamtapur state for the Koch Rajbongshi community.

On Tuesday, in a video message sent from an undisclosed location, Koch Pavel, the KLO’s Foreign Secretary, reminded the government of the Cooch Behar Merger Agreement that recognized Kamtapur as a “full-fledged constituent state of Union of India”.

“The most crucial point of the Cooch Behar Merger Agreement was that Kamtapur was recognised as a full-fledged constituent state of the Union of India… but, in 1950, then Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru made Kamtapur a autonomous state of the Union of India. After 1971 (and the creation of Bangladesh) lakhs of refugees – Bengali-speaking people – were dumped and given shelter in Kamtapur , which has created a problem for the state. Kamtapur has lost its legacy after social and economic exploitation.”

Earlier the KLO accused Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee of not wanting the group to take part in the peace talks. The group said it wanted to take part in the talks to resolve the 29-year-old issue.

Today’s video message may be seen as a hint of working towards that resolution, KLO source said.

Founded in 1995, the KLO advocates for the creation of a Kamtapur state – drawn out of six Bengal districts (Cooch Behar, Darjeeling, Jalpaiguri, Malda, and North and South Dinajpur) and four from western Assam (Kokrajhar, Bongaigaon, Dhubri, and Goalpara).

It is part of the United National Liberation Front of Western South East Asia (UNLFW) – a front of armed separatist groups in northeast India led by ULFA-I, or the United Liberation Front of Asom-Independent.



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