|06CALCUTTA533||2006-11-21 12:22:00||UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY||Consulate Kolkata|
VZCZCXRO5000 PP RUEHBI RUEHCI DE RUEHCI #0533 3251222 ZNR UUUUU ZZH P 211222Z NOV 06 FM AMCONSUL CALCUTTA TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 1282 INFO RUEHNE/AMEMBASSY NEW DELHI PRIORITY 1149 RUEHCG/AMCONSUL CHENNAI 0452 RUEHBI/AMCONSUL MUMBAI 0454 RUEHKA/AMEMBASSY DHAKA 0283 RUEHKT/AMEMBASSY KATHMANDU 0283 RUEHIL/AMEMBASSY ISLAMABAD 0219 RUEHLM/AMEMBASSY COLOMBO 0110 RUEAIIA/CIA WASHINGTON DC RHEFDHP/DIA DHP-1 WASHINGTON DC RUEIDN/DNI WASHINGTON DC RUEILB/NCTC WASHINGTON DC RUEHCI/AMCONSUL CALCUTTA 1575
UNCLAS CALCUTTA 000533
1. (U) Summary: On November 20, an explosion on the
Haldibari-New Jalpaiguri passenger train in northern West Bengal
killed at least 6 and injured more than 50 people. Unofficial
estimates indicate the death toll may rise to 15. No Americans
have been reported injured. Although no one has claimed
responsibility for the incident, suspicions revolve around the
Kamtaupur Liberation Organization (KLO) and its "patron" the
United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA). End Summary.
2. (SBU) On November 20 two bombs exploded aboard a passenger
train waiting to leave Belakoba station, a town in north Bengal.
The train had been delayed by 20 minutes; otherwise the
explosions would have occurred 18km away at New Jalpaiguri
station, which is far more crowded than Belakoba. Initial media
reports indicate that four other bombs on the train were located
and defused. The West Bengal Police Inspector General (Law and
Order) Raj Kanojia (please protect) told post that a high level
team is investigating the blast, and that the "usual suspects"
are being considered. A senior security official from Assam
said he has no doubt that ULFA and the KLO are involved.
3. (U) Part of the Jalpaiguri district in northern West Bengal
is a narrow, 21 kilometer corridor that connects Northeast India
to the rest of the country. This area is reputed to be used by
militants operating in the region as a transit point between
India, Nepal, and Bangladesh. The KLO is a prominent insurgent
group in northern West Bengal which demands a separate state for
the Koch-Rajbongshi ethnic community. Koch-Rajbongshis also
live in the Kokrajhar, Bongaigaon, Dhubri and Goalpara districts
of lower Assam.
4. (U) The KLO has close links with ULFA. Intelligence sources
believe that the KLO was supported by ULFA in 1995 to facilitate
use of northern West Bengal as a transit point for insurgents
crossing from Bhutan to Bangladesh. The KLO has maintained some
hideouts for ULFA in northern West Bengal. By itself, the KLO
is not a strong group (having only 100 cadres), but support from
ULFA for training and equipment has enabled the KLO to carry out
abductions, extortion and killing of local political leaders in
northern West Bengal. KLO leader Jiban Singha reportedly lives
in Bangladesh, as does ULFA Commander-in-Chief Paresh Barua.
5. (U) Comment: The size of the bomb and apparent
sophistication in the effort to time the explosion to occur in a
train station for maximum casualties are surprising elements in
this latest attack. In the past, KLO attacks typically would
have specific targets, usually local politicians. These
bombing, like the November 5 ULFA attacks (reftel), appear to
have been seeking greater civilian casualties. Yesterday's
attack also could be a reflection of the increased activity by
ULFA following the breakdown in peace negotiations with the GOI.
By ratcheting up the violence, ULFA and its allies such as KLO
may be able to pressure the GOI to seek negotiations with the