KLO Chief Returns to Mainstream, Peace Talks with Central Government Expected

Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma announced that Jiban Singha Koch, the leader of the Kamatapur Liberation Organisation (KLO) militant group, has returned to the mainstream. Sarma stated that Singha and nine members of his group surrendered to security forces in Longwa, Nagaland, and will soon participate in peace talks with the Central government.

Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma, who also holds the home portfolio, stated that efforts are being made to bring the United Liberation Front of Asom (Independent) (ULFA-I) led by Paresh Baruah to peace talks with the government. Sarma said that despite the issues that the government has with the ULFA, they are in touch with the group’s leadership and are hopeful of resolving the issue within the current five-year tenure. He also mentioned that in his Independence Day speech last year, he had stated that sovereignty is non-negotiable. ULFA-I operates out of Myanmar and has twice extended its unilateral ceasefire in 2021, and the restoration of Assam’s sovereignty is one of their core demands.

The pro-talk faction of ULFA had submitted a charter of demands to the Indian government in the past. The peace talks between the group and the government started in 2011. In November 2015, ULFA General Secretary Anup Chetia was extradited from Bangladesh to India and later joined the peace process.

The Kamatapur Liberation Organisation (KLO) was formed by Jiban Singha in 1995. The group demands a separate state that includes parts of West Bengal, Assam, Bihar, and Nepal. The KLO claims that it aims to address the issues faced by the Koch Rajbongshi people, such as unemployment, land alienation, neglect of the Kamtapuri language, and economic deprivation.

Source: The Siasat Daily

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