Ulfa leader Anup Chetia ‘handed over’

Ulfa leader Anup Chetia ‘handed over’

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Aop Assamese separatist leader has been handed over to India by Bangladesh, top Indian officials said.
They said Golap Barua alias Anup Chetia, former ‘general secretary’ of the United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA), has been handed over to Indian officials early on Wednesday.
But it was not clear where the handover took place and how will Chetia be brought back.
Bangladesh Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal said he had no knowledge of the handover of Chetia as claimed by Indian officials, news agency bdnews24.com reported on Thursday.“When did the handover happen? I have no information on it and I don’t know anything about it,” Kamal said in his first reaction.
That raised questions about whether the handover has already taken place or is in the offing.
Top Indian Home MInistry officials said Chetia will be brought to Delhi for questioning but then may be handed over to the Assam police as he has cases against him in that state.
The Press Trust of India says Chetia was handed over after Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi personally intervened in the matter.
It may be noted that other ulfa leaders including its chief Arabinda Rajkhowa’s going to the custody of India police reportedly from Bangladesh were reported in the same manner first by the Indian news media quoting Indian intelligence sources.
Scuh reports were later confirmed by other sources. Chetia has been in jail in Bangladesh for 18 years.
He was arrested on Dec 21, 1997 and booked under the Foreigners Act and the Passports Act for illegally carrying foreign currencies and a satellite phone.
He was sentenced to seven years of imprisonment by a Bangladeshi court and was being held at Kashimpur Jail in the outskirts of Dhaka.
Chetia’s handover is being closely watched by the ULFA, which is now a divided house.
Both the Arabinda Rajkhowa faction, which is now negotiating with the Indian government, and the Paresh Barua faction, which is continuing the separatist campaign, would try drawing Chetia to their fold.
Chetia is one of the founders of the ULFA which was formed in April 1979 to fight for Assam’s secession from India. He is also a cousin of the hardline ULFA military wing chief Paresh Barua.
Chetia was kept in jail after completing his prison term in view of a Bangladesh High Court directive in August 2003 to keep him in safe custody until the government made a decision on his plea seeking political asylum in Bangladesh.
Chetia had sought political asylum in Bangladesh thrice in 2005, 2008 and in 2011.
ULFA Chairman Arabinda Rajkhowa has told journalists that Chetia should be included in the Centre-ULFA talks.
The Indian government is expediting its negotiations with the Rajkhowa faction of ULFA ahead of the Assam assembly elections early next year. – News Desk

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