ULFA leader Anup Chetia, lodged in a jail in Bangladesh since 1997, would be extradited to India once the judicial formalities are completed, Bangladesh’s envoy to India Tariq Ahmad Karim said Thursday.
“He (Chetia) will be extradited to India once the judicial formalities against him are completed. He has applied for political asylum and that takes legal course of action,” Karim told IANS.
“We have launched a crackdown against Indian insurgents in Bangladesh. Our security forces have been able to find and also hand over to India whoever we could even without the extradition treaty.”
“With Bangladesh and India now having signed an extradition treaty, I am confident that Chetia will be extradited to India once the judicial formalities are completed,” he said.
India has long been demanding the extradition of the United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA) leader but Bangladesh has been saying that the issue needs to be settled by court as he has sought political asylum.
The Bangladesh high commissioner said no country can subvert its own legal system.
“India must have patience, and definitely our government will act on this issue according to the law of our land,” Karim said.
Chetia is wanted in India for various crimes including murder, kidnapping and extortion. He was arrested in Assam in 1991, but was freed by the state government.
On Dec 21, 1997, the ULFA general secretary was arrested from Mohammadpur in Dhaka for illegally entering Bangladesh and for illegally carrying foreign currency and a satellite phone. He is under detention after completion of his jail term.
Chetia sought political asylum in Bangladesh on three occasions – in 2005, 2008 and in 2011. He also applied to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees for political asylum in Bangladesh, contending he was fighting for a sovereign Assam.
But later, Chetia sought that his application for political asylum in Bangladesh be cancelled and he be returned to India.
“He wanted to come back to India after much persuasion by his family members and friends. He wanted to be part of the ongoing peace talks between the government (of India) and the ULFA,” said an official in the union home ministry.
In the past, ULFA chairman Arabinda Rajkhowa had asked the Indian government to seek Chetia’s deportation from Bangladesh.
Chetia said in his petition: “Earlier, I wanted to stay in this country (Bangladesh). I have changed my mind and I have decided to live the rest of my life with my children in my country (India).”