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SOURCE : NORTHEAST NEWS

Kamtapur Liberation Organization (KLO) chief Jeevan Singha, alias Jeevan Koch Timir Das, has reportedly surrendered before security forces in the Longwa region along Indo-Myanmar on Friday and is likely to join “peace parley” with the centre and state.

The development came within five months after two top KLO militants – Kailash Koch, the second most important leader of the outfit and his wife Jugli – surrendered before the DGP of West Bengal police in Kolkata and days after Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma had invited the outfit for “peace talks”.

Formed in 1995 with members of the Koch Rajbangshi community, the KLO has been demanding a separate state encompassing parts of Cooch Behar, Malda, North Dinajpur, South Dinajpur and Jalpaiguri districts and stretches of Assam.

Highly-placed sources in the intelligence agency confirmed that KLO chief Singha had surrendered before Assam Rifles in Nagaland. “Singha has been involved in several KLO operations in Assam and West Bengal and had reported imparted arms training to hundreds of youths who joined the outfit,” the source said.

Confirming the development, another source in a central intelligence agency told this correspondent that the group headed by Singha entered Mon in Nagaland district from their hideout in Myanmar and is heading to Delhi. 

“It (the group) surrendered before 27 Assam Rifles camp before proceeding to Delhi,” the source said, adding, “Everything is happening secretly.”

No agency has issued any formal confirmation.

According to available evidence, the KLO had close ties with ULFA since the days when both outfits operated out of Bhutan, and the latter had imparted training to KLO militants. 

In the past year, several BJP leaders in Bengal were trumpeting that the central and Assam governments managed to coax the KLO into joining peace talks and returning to the mainstream, but a top KLO leader’s surrender gave an extra edge to Mamata Banerjee and her government.

Assam CM Sarma had claimed that KLO was interested in peace talks and Singha confirmed their desire to join peace talks via a series of video statements issued in 2022.

This development carries political significance and comes amid a political tussle between PM Modi-led centre and Mamta Banerjee-led TMC government in West Bengal.