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ULFA Leader's Repatriation Caught in Bangaldesh Political Turbulence


UTPAL BORPUJARI | New Delhi, December 27, 2013 16:05
Tags : ULFA | Anup Chetia | Union Home Ministry |

New Delhi, Dec 22: The repatriation to India of United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA) general secretary Anup Chetia, incarcerated in Bangladesh since the late 1990s, has run into complications with the ongoing political uncertainty in that country.

Sources in the Union Home Ministry say that the Bangladesh government, with which India have had advanced-level talks regarding Chetia’s repatriation, seems to have put the matter in the backburner for the time being as it is too preoccupied with the political developments in the country vis-à-vis popular protests against local perpetrators of genocide during the 1971 India-Pakistan war, and then protests against conviction and death sentence of several of the accused.

The Ministry of Home Affairs, the sources said, was keen to get Chetia back as it believed that his joining the pro-talks faction led by ULFA chairman Arabinda Rajkhowa would give further impetus to the ongoing negotiation between the government and the Rajkhowa faction.

According to sources keeping track of the developments, Chetia has managed to send more than one informal communication to the government regarding his willingness to return, while his wife has been in touch with leaders of the Rajkhowa faction.

Chetia is currently under “protective custody” of the Bangladesh government after completing his jail term. Incidentally, Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde had recently quoted his Bangladesh counterpart to say that the ULFA leader was unwilling to return to India and also that Bangladesh had said that he could not be handed over to India unless a pending petition by Chetia in the Bangladesh Supreme Court had been disposed of.

Chetia, who was arrested by the Bangladesh government for alleged money laundering, spent many years in a Dhaka jail, and during the period ULFA underwent a breakup with a prominent faction led by Rajkhowa and comprising several top leaders surrendering to the Indian government and starting talks to settle several of their demands, while self-styled ‘commander in chief’ Paresh Barua chose to continue his ‘armed struggle’ of Assam’s ‘independence’ from India.

“Chetia is keen to return, and we have information that his wife is in touch with leaders of the Rajkhowa faction as well as some other people enquiring about the education possibilities of their daughter in Assam,” the sources said.

"The author's views are personal and do not represent the views of the organisation."

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Issue Dated: Feb 5, 2017