Doomdooma: Will Kamtapur become a new state in India? That depends on who you are talking to: some people believe it is a matter of when not if; some think it is yet another fantasy, and then, others believe it will happen but cannot say when. 

Nevertheless, the uncertainty has not stopped eminent personalities from commenting on the issue. Assam’s iconic singer became the latest person to urge Assam residents to oppose the central government’s alleged efforts to create a separate Kamtapur state.

During a function in Western Assam’s Goalpara district on Saturday evening, he said, “I heard that Assam would be divided again. You must oppose it by all means. If you allow this to happen, you will need a separate voter card for Kamtapur despite being born in Assam. I want to tell the Modi government from this stage not to pursue the division of Assam,” Zubeen added.

Garg joined two major ethnic communities – Bodos and Rabhas – and the Asom Gana Parishad (AGP), a minor ally of the Bharatiya Janata Party, in speaking out against the possible bifurcation of Assam as part of a peace deal with the Kamtapur Liberation Organization (KLO).

AGP legislator Phani Bhusan Chouduhry had also raised his voice against the Kamtapur move, stating: “We don’t want another division of Assam.”

But who told Garg about the formation of such a state?

Turns out, the past week’s events have set tongues rolling that the state of Kamtapur could very well be a possibility. On January 13, Kamtapur Liberation Organization (KLO) chief Jeevan Singha, alias Jeevan Koch Timir Das, 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”.

The KLO has been waging an armed struggle since 1995 for the formation of a separate Kamtapur state comprising six districts of North Bengal (Malda, North Dinajpur, South Dinajpur, Darjeeling, Jalpaiguri and Cooch Behar) and parts of four contiguous districts of Assam (Dhubri, Goalpara, Kokrajhar and Bongaigaon) for the Koch-Rajbongshi people. 

Two days before his surrender, Singha emailed a statement to various media outlets in the Northeast region, saying that the preparation for holding talks for a separate Kamtapur state is “almost at the final stage” and that discussions would “start soon” with PM Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah. 

The statement read: “In this New Year 2023, I am very happy to inform you that the process of bilateral discussions between the Government of India and Kamtapur Liberation Organisation (KLO) has reached its final stage under the able leadership of Narendra Modi Ji, Hon’ble Prime Minister of India and Amit Shah Ji, Hon’ble Union Home Minister of India with active mediation from Himanta Biswa Sharma, Hon’ble Chief Minister of Assam”. 

In December too, the KLO chief sent a message to media persons, claiming that the formation of a separate state of Kamtapur “is just a matter of time”. 

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