Malkhan Singh nabbed from a jungle at Jamalpur near Habibpur

A commander of the militant outfit, Kamtapur Liberation Organisation (KLO), was arrested from Habibpur in Malda district late on Saturday, an official of Habibpur police station said on Sunday. Malkhan Singh alias Madhav Mondal was nabbed by the police from a jungle at Jamalpur near Habibpur.

“We have seized an automatic rifle, bullets, and cash from him,” said the official adding that several cases of attacks and arson are pending against the accused. Malkhan was allegedly involved in the case where KLO militants opened fire on a bus last year at Habibpur. He is reportedly in charge of KLO’s affairs in Malda district. “He was produced in court on Sunday and remanded in police custody for 14 days,” said the official.

Malkhan was on the police radar for a long time and earlier this month when the police got the information that he had been seen in a village near Habibpur, they intercepted him. Malkhan reportedly opened fire at the police personnel who retaliated. But in the darkness of night, he was able to escape.

A banned militant outfit, the KLO is accused of mastermind a string of terrorist attacks in north Bengal. In one of the latest such incidents, over five persons were killed in a bomb blast in Jalpaiguri district in December. The police suspected that KLO was behind the blast.

It demands that the separate State of Kamtapur be carved out of the six districts of West Bengal - Cooch Behar, Darjeeling, Jalpaiguri, North and South Dinajpur, and Malda – and four districts of Assam - Gopalpara, Kokrajhar, Bongaigaon, and Dhubri. The West Bengal districts are among those which go to polls in the first phase on April 17 while Malda goes to polls on April 24.