HindustanTimes Mon,22 Dec 2014

Anup Chetia likely to be handed over to India by Dhaka by April

PTI  New Delhi, December 31, 2010
First Published: 20:02 IST(31/12/2010) | Last Updated: 20:04 IST(31/12/2010)

A top ULFA leader, currently in custody in Bangladesh, is likely to be handed over to India within the next four months, a senior government functionary said on Friday.


He also said that around 30 to 50 middle-level leaders of ULFA have "packed their bags" in the neighbouring country and would return to India "very soon".

ULFA general secretary Anup Chetia, who was arrested on December 21, 1997 in Dhaka for illegally entering into Bangladesh and possessing two forged passports of that country, is likely to be handed over to India before the next year's Assam Assembly elections, which is likely to be held in April 2011.

"India is in touch with Bangladesh and in all probability Chetia will be handed over to us before Assam's biggest festival Rongali Bihu which starts on April 15," the government functionary said.

Forty-three-year-old Chetia is considered to be only person in the insurgent group who can take on elusive 'commander-in-chief' Paresh Baruah.

If Chetia is handed over to India, he may join ULFA's other top leaders including 'chariman' Arabinda Rajkhowa, in holding parleys with the government for bringing a lasting peace in Assam.

Rajkhowa and others have already got bail and are expected to start peace talks with the government soon. However, Paresh Baruah is still opposed to any dialogue with the Centre.

"Those ULFA cadres who have already come to India have encouraged the current batch to come back home," the functionary said.

The ULFA leaders are expected to enter India through the Indo-Bangla border in Meghalaya.

Apart from Rajkhowa, ULFA's self-styled general secretary Chitraban Hazarika, 'deputy commander-in-chief' Raju Baruah, self-styled foreign secretary Sasha Choudhary, 'vice-chairman' Pradip Gogoi and two other leaders -- Mithinga Daimary and Bhimakanta Burhagohain -- have already got bail.

Peace talks with ULFA may give a political boost to Congress party -- which has been ruling Assam for the past ten years -- before the Assembly elections next year.

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