Assam Police takes custody of ULFA leaders

The BSF has handed over the two top ULFA leaders, who were picked up from the Indo-Bangla border in Tripura, to Assam Police which started their interrogation.

Last Updated: Nov 07, 2009, 15:42 PM IST

Guwahati: The BSF has handed over the two top
ULFA leaders, who were picked up from the Indo-Bangla border
in Tripura, to Assam Police which started their interrogation.

Self-styled ULFA foreign secretary Sashadhar Choudhury
and finance secretary Chitraban Hazarika, who were pushed into
Indian territory by the Bangladeshi authorities, were flown
into Guwahati Friday night in a special aircraft by a team of
Assam Police officials.

"We have taken over the custody of the two ULFA leaders
and they will be produced in a court here today for further
custody," Additional Director General of Assam Police Khagen
Sarma said.

The special branch of the Assam Police has started their
interrogation and they will be joined by sleuths of Central
intelligence agencies soon.

The banned group reacted quickly calling an Assam bandh
on Monday protesting the "military action" and demanding
unconditional release of Choudhury and Hazarika.

Claiming that the two top leaders were picked by some
camouflage men on November 1, a statement issued by the banned
group`s chairman Arabinda Rajkhowa said, "Instead of pursuing
a peaceful political solution to the issue, Indian colonial
forces are trying to settle it using military power."

Bangladesh has launched a major crackdown on ULFA
militants operating from its soil by apprehending the two
leaders and subsequently pushing them into Indian territory
from where BSF took the duo into custody.

BSF officials, however, insisted the ULFA leaders have
surrendered before them after fleeing Dhaka following an
"internal clash" among the cadres.

The development comes a month ahead of Bangladesh Prime
Minister Sheikh Hasina`s proposed visit to India and four
month`s after Foreign Minister Dipu Moni`s reported assurance
to Indian leaders that tough action would be taken against
militant groups, if any, operating from that country.

Sources said the ULFA leaders were picked up by
Bangladeshi security agencies from Dhaka on Sunday night and
pushed into India as a "good gesture" by the Sheikh Hasina

Sources said since India and Bangladesh do not have any
extradition treaty, process of handing over each other`s
wanted criminals was always cumbersome and cited the example
of ULFA general secretary Anup Chetia, who despite being
arrested in 1997 in Dhaka, is yet to be handed over to India
due to legal complications.

In a Deputy Director General-level meeting with
Bangladesh Rifles in Sylhet (Bangladesh) yesterday, the BSF
had given a list of 104 camps of Indian insurgent groups
operating in Bangladesh.

Indian security agencies had been claiming that the ULFA,
formed in 1979 to fight for a sovereign Assam, had been using
its bases in the neighbouring country to launch subversive
activities in India.

ULFA `vice chairman` Pradip Gogoi, arrested in 1998, is
currently in a jail in Guwahati, `general secretary` Anup
Chetia is under detention in Dhaka since 1997 while outfit`s
founding member Bhimakanta Buragohain, `publicity secretary`
Mithinga Daimary and `assistant secretary` Bolin Das were
arrested during the military operations in Bhutan in December

Bureau Report