Bangladesh has agreed to hand over Anup Chetia, jailed general secretary of the United Liberation Front of Assam (ULFA), to India.
Hasan Mah-mud, Bangladesh minister of state for foreign affairs, told CNN-IBN the new government had agreed to extradite Chetia, who was caught in Dhaka in December 1997, and has since remained behind bars. “We have now to decide formalities of the handover,” Mahmud said. “It will also include the handing over of Bangladeshi criminals who are in Indian jails.”
Chetia and ULFA’s absconding commander-in-chief Paresh Baruah hail from the same village, Jeraichakli-Bariagaon in Dibrugarh, Assam.
Chetia, who had various aliases — Golap Barua, Sunil Baruah, Bhaijan and Ahmed among others — was among the first batch of ULFA members to receive arms training from the underground Kachin Inde-pendent Army in Myanmar. Among his numerous crimes of murder, extortion and kidnapping, he is wanted for the killing of the wife of former Dibrugarh district chief A.K. Mallick. In March 1997, Interpol issued an arrest warrant against him while Delhi sought his extradition from “any country”.
Mahmud also said the earlier government of Khaleda Zia had sponsored terrorism. “Since 2001, the BNP and Jamaat-e-Islami had ministers in their government who chanted slogans to turn Bangladesh into Afghanistan. They nurtured a range of terrorist organisations. Terrorism in Bangladesh started and then flourished under that government,” he said.