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27 Apr 2018

Arrest out of vendetta: Barla

TT, Jalpaiguri: John Barla, a tribal BJP leader from the western Dooars, said on Thursday that he had been arrested as the Trinamul Congress wanted to settle scores ahead of panchayat polls.

Barla was arrested from Moraghat under Banarhat police station on Wednesday. He had been named in a number of cases, some of which were registered during the agitation launched by tribals under his leadership against the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha in the Dooars in the last decade.

"Trinamul is apprehensive of losing in the tea belt and tribal-dominated areas of the Dooars (in panchayat polls). On the other hand, we have successfully built our bases in the region. Ahead of the panchayat elections, Trinamul wants to settle scores with me as I did not join the party and jeopardise our support base. That is why I have been arrested," Barla said, before he was produced in an executive magistrate's court here.

Barla, a former leader of the Akhil Bharatiya Adivasi Vikas Parishad, started gaining popularity in 2008 as he and Rajesh Lakra, another tribal leader, launched a movement against the Morcha.

Police said the BJP leader had been arrested on the basis of an arrest warrant issued by the additional chief judicial magistrate's court in Alipurduar. "He has been named as accused in two cases registered in Alipurdaur district. He was not appearing in the court and that is why the arrest warrant has been issued," said Amitabha Maiti, the Jalpaiguri police chief.

ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY OUR ALIPURDUAR CORRESPONDENT

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