New Delhi: 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
"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
"Those ULFA cadres who have already come to India have
encouraged the current batch to come back home," the
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.