New Delhi: Top ULFA leader Anup Chetia is unlikely to be deported by Bangladesh till India ratifies the land boundary agreement with the neighbouring country.
A Bangladeshi delegation which was in New Delhi last week has given this indication during their talks with Indian counterparts led by Union Home Secretary LC Goyal.
"The issue of Anup Chetia came up during the Home Secretary level talks. Hints were dropped by the Bangladesh side, which we think as linking the agreement to Chetia's return," an official privy to the discussion said.
At the home secretary-level talks held last week, Bangladesh senior secretary for home affairs, Mohammed Mozammel Haque Khan, conveyed to his Indian counterpart Goyal that Dhaka expected early ratification of the agreement.
However, the Assam BJP unit and RSS outfits, gearing up for a fierce fight with Congress in Assam for the 2016 polls, are opposed to the agreement.
There are major differences within the party in Assam on supporting the ratification to the agreement, sources said.
BJP leaders in Assam had opposed the land boundary agreement aggressively in the run-up to the General Elections last year, arguing that Assam would lose land to Bangladesh.
The amendment bill is pending in Parliament while Bangladesh has already ratified the protocol to the agreement signed by former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.
Though Prime Minister Narendra Modi has committed to the passage of the pact in Parliament, there is stiff opposition from within the party, sources said.
For the Prime Minister Modi, the land boundary agreement and the Teesta issues are major challenges in improving ties with Bangladesh.
India has promised to Bangladesh that it would reciprocate to what it has done to improve relations with New Delhi including facilitating return of northeastern insurgent leaders for trial in India.
The ULFA general secretary, in Bangladesh for over a decade now, had earlier sought asylum in that country.
However, following the return of Arabinda Rajkhowa and negotiations of ULFA (pro-talks) faction with the Centre, Chetia "withdrew" his asylum request.
"But he is still in confinement," said an official.
The key ULFA leader is in "protective custody" in Rajshahi jail in Bangladesh, pending a decision on his petition in the Bangladesh Supreme Court.
Arrested in Bangladesh on December 21, 1997, Chetia spent seven years in jail on a slew of charges, including carrying a fake passport.