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Kamtapur Separate statehood demand in West Bengal takes wider shape

Atul Roy founder President of Kamtapur People's Party (KPP)
SILIGURI: Backed with the friendship with BJP, that hosts softer view on small state formation, separate statehood movement in northern West Bengal is going to have a newer and wider shape with the inclusion of lower Assam and Bihar in it.

"To give a even wider shape to our age old movement for separate state in the name of Kamtapur, we have renamed our organization to All Kamtapur People's Party(AKPP) after including organizations from Assam in it. The new body will now carry on the movement," said Atul Roy, convener of the ad hock committee formed for the purpose. Roy was the founder President of Kamtapur People's Party (KPP).

"In its election manifesto, now ruling party in Delhi BJP had given its views in support of our demands. Darjeeling MP and BJP Vice President S S Ahluwalia, has assured us his party's support in favour of our movement," he added. KPP supported BJP in the last parliament election.

"The newly defined territory of our demanded state will comprise of seven districts of North Bengal, few Lower Assam districts including Dhubri, Goalpara, Bongaigaon etc. with high population of Kamtapuri language speaking Rajbangshi community people. Few east Bihar regions are also there in the map," said K C Boro, ex-minister from Meghalaya and spokesman of AKPP.

Clear enough, political air of northern West Bengal is about to have a turmoil strong enough to destabilize the normal life.

KPP, the organization, mainly backed by the ethnic sentiment of near one crore aborigine Rajbangshi people of North Bengal, had its upraise during 1998. Though initially ignored by the then Left government, with massive rural support-base, it became a concern for state as well as Central government by 2002. Side by side, a militant outfit Kamtapur Liberation Organization (KLO), hosting the same Kamtapur statehood demand, also took a solid shape with close friendship with ULFA from north-eastern region.

But, in one side while police became too tough on the KPP volunteers, the then ruling Left Front allies in West Bengal cracked KPP's rural supportbase by utilizing own organizational force. On the other side, India persuaded its Himalayan neighbor Bhutan to launch a massive military assault on the hidden KLO camps inside Bhutan territory.

Eventually, with its broken backbone, KPP had to take back bench. But, it remained very much alive as the ethnic sentiment and wrath of Rajbangshi community against underdevelopment of rural north Bengal.

"The new initiative will reignite this sentiment. State as well as Center must handle this carefully to maintain peace in this critically located region as trijunction of three international boundaries," said political observers. (ET)

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