Assam Police takes custody of ULFA leaders
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Last Updated: Saturday, November 07, 2009, 15:42
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 government.

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 2003.

Bureau Report

First Published: Saturday, November 07, 2009, 15:42

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