Friday, August 10, 2007

Fugitive asylum seekers in India face charges in Bangladesh

SANTANU BANERJEE

EVEN as India has asked Bangladesh Government to come up with specific information on ULFA leaders Anup Chetia and Paresh Baruah and other outfits during the Home Secretary-level talks last week in New Delhi, Dhaka raised the issue of some of Awami League leaders taking shelter in India.

According to sources, Bangladesh Home Secretary Mohammad Abdul Karim raised this issue during his talks with his Indian counterpart Madhukar Gupta on grounds that these shelter-seeking Awami League leaders were facing serious charges in their country.

Sources said names of the Awami League leaders that came up prominently during the discussion were of Sheikh Helal, cousin of party leader Sheikh Hasina Wajed and her party's former MP Jainal Hazari. Both were in India recently for seeking political asylum.

Sources said India told Bangladesh Government that New Delhi could not treat Awami League leaders as illegal migrants. On their part, Indian officials pointed out that Dhaka was delaying the process of information exchange on several ULFA and Kamtapuri Liberation Organisation (KLO) leaders and other outfits, like NLFT of Tripura operating from Bangladesh.

The KLO is a separatist force operating in North Bengal demanding Greater Cooch Behar as a separate State. In the beginning, they operated from Bhutan, but after crackdown by the Indian forces during operation 'flush out', their leaders fled to Bangladesh.

However, sources said Dhaka is concerned about the meeting recently of two top Awami League leaders with senior Left and Congress leaders, including AB Bardhan, D Raja (CPI), Abani Roy (RSP), Sitaram Yechury (CPM) and Congress leader Pranab Mukherjee.

Even as India has asked Bangladesh Government to come up with specific information on ULFA leaders Anup Chetia and Paresh Baruah and other outfits during the Home Secretary-level talks last week in New Delhi, Dhaka raised the issue of some of Awami League leaders taking shelter in India.

According to sources, Bangladesh Home Secretary Mohammad Abdul Karim raised this issue during his talks with his Indian counterpart Madhukar Gupta on grounds that these shelter-seeking Awami League leaders were facing serious charges in their country. #

This article first appeared in The Pioneer, New Delhi, India The article does not reflect the editorial opinion of DurDesh.net and is only of the author/writer
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