Sunday, January 23, 2011

Govt Tight - Lipped, Though Indian Media Unfolds ULFA Leaders Handover Drama

The incumbent Awami League (AL) government has handed over to India at least 30 citizens of the neighbouring country including top ten leaders of the banned outfits United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA) and National Democratic Front of Bodoland (NDFB) since Sheikh Hasina's visit to India in January last.

The ULFA leaders, who were deported to the Indian authorities by Bangladeshi agencies at an outpost on the border in Meghalaya, are chairman of the banned outfit Arabinda Rajkhowa, his wife Kaberi Kachari and their two sons deputy chief Raju Barua and Rajkhowa's bodyguard Raju Borah, Barua's wife and son, and wife and daughter of ULFA's self-styled foreign secretary Sashadhar Choudhury.

Two other top ULFA leaders, Chitrabon Hazarika and Sasha Choudhury, were detained in Bangladesh and subsequently handed over to India.

While the Bangladesh government maintained secrecy about handover of Arabinda Rajkhowa, the Indian media reported that at least ten top ULFA and NDFB 'terrorists' were handed over by Dhaka.

Moreover, according to Indian media reports, two other rebel leaders, chairman of the National Democratic Front of Bodoland (NDFB) Ranjan Daimary and chairman of the National Liberation Front of Tripura (NLFT) Biswamohan Debbarma, were also handed over to India. Add to the list the two suspected members of the India-based militant outfit Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), who were also deported by Bangladesh.

In return, what Bangladesh gained is a big zero. India has not handed over any of the most-wanted criminals to Bangladesh.

Though the Indian media quoted the Indian authority as claiming that they had deported over at least 20 criminals to the Bangladesh government, Dhaka did not confirm it. The human rights organisations also found them missing from custody.

Police sources said Shahdat, Khandakar Tanvir Islam Joy, Dacoit Shahid, Montu, Haji Decon, Halim, Rony, Mohammad Ali, Jeshin, Ashik, Nabi, Mosarraf, Chanchal and Shahin are among the 42 top terrors reportedly hiding in India. They are learnt to have been hiding in India in close contact with the law enforcement agencies.

Recently the most-wanted terrorist from Bangladesh, Shahdat, told reporters on telephone that he helped the Indian law-enforcement agencies arrest Halim, Haji Decon, Ashik, Ali and many other Bangladeshi criminals in Kolkata.

Indian authority claimed they sent back Rony, Montu, Piyal, Halim, Haji Decon, Ashik and Nobi, who were reportedly brought back home, but they were reported missing from custody, sources said.

Meanwhile, New Delhi wants Bangladesh to return Indian mafia don Dawood Ibrahim's close aide Abdul Rouf Dawood Merchant, who was arrested by the law enforcers in Bangladesh last year.

Indian foreign ministry has sent a letter to the Bangladesh ministry of foreign affairs for returning Abdul Rouf Dawood Merchant, who is accused of killing Mumbai music baron Gulshan Kumar.

Knowledgeable sources told the Holiday recently that according to the agreement on exchange of prisoners between Bangladesh and India, Bangladesh handed over more than 20 persons including the ten leaders of ULFA, NDBF and NLFT.

The Indian authority told Bangladesh that they would send back 20 criminals soon, the sources added.

Meanwhile, Home Minister Sahara Khatun denied media reports that the chairman of the Indian separatist group ULFA, Rajkhowa, had been arrested in Bangladesh and later pushed back to India.

"Since we did not even arrest him, how come the question of pushing him back arises?" the home minister said.

While Sahara Khatun denied the widespread media reports, the Indian daily Hindustan Times reports that the ULFA chief was pushed back by the Bangladesh authorities into Tripura and later flown to New Delhi.

Earlier BBC News and Indian media reported that the ULFA chairman had been taken to Delhi from Tripura.
ULFA general secretary Anup Chetia has been remaining in a Bangladesh jail since 1998.

However, at least 500 Bangladeshis are perishing in different Indian jails, said a human rights organisation of the India.

The Bangladesh government is yet to bring back anyone officially after the agreement was signed on exchange of prisoners.

Meanwhile, The Assam Tribune reported from Guwahati on May 5 that Bangladesh Rifles and other security forces in Bangladesh have stepped up vigil along the border and a number of operations have been launched in the bases of the ultras in the bordering areas.

Assam Tribune claims that the militants were forced to wind up the camps in the Chota and Bara Gajni areas in the face of operations by the BDR and other security forces and most of them reportedly shifted to the Bangladesh-Myanmar border areas.

The relation between BSF and BDR also improved considerably barring the Jayantia Hills area where some trouble cropped up from time to time, particularly in the adverse possession areas along Sylhet borders, the daily said.

The Assam daily also reported that in the darkness on May 04, two cadres of Manipur based militant group PLA along with a woman cadre of the RPF were nabbed by the BSF men when they tried to sneak into India from Bangladesh through the international border in Dowki in Meghalaya.