India and Bangladesh intend to complete negotiations on an extradition treaty by early next year that could open doors to bring United Liberation Front of Asom general secretary Anup Chetia from Dhaka to the country.
New Delhi would like Chetia to be the first insurgent leader extradited from Bangladesh under the bilateral treaty. There is, however, increasing recognition within the security establishment that this could take time, since the road to his extradition is lined with legal hurdles.
Chetia has already served his sentence and is being held pending a decision on his request for asylum. He has also moved United Nations’ refugee agency, UNHCR, to seek political asylum.
At the end of the Indo-Bangladesh home secretary-level talks, Bangladesh’s home secretary Monzur Hossain told reporters that Chetia hadn’t been deported due to some legal issues.
“Legal matters are not in our hands... We can’t comment on them. They are subjudice. Once that is done, we will take appropriate action at the earliest,” Hossain said, with his Indian counterpart, RK Singh, at his side.
Singh said discussions on Chetia were on and New Delhi was happy with the steps being taken by Bangladesh.
A joint statement on the HS-level talks also called for finalisation of the extradition treaty at “at an early date”. Hossain promised the pact would be signed “at the earliest. That is our position with utmost sincerity”.
The two sides also agreed to operationalise three agreements — on mutual legal assistance, transfer of sentenced persons and combating organised crime — that were signed earlier this year.
On its part, New Delhi assured Dhaka that it would leave “no stone unturned” to track down and hand over assassins of the architect of Bangladesh’s independence, Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, father of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.