Sunday, July 21, 2024

Ulfa talks


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INDIA is expected to give Bangladesh a list of districts in that country where Northeastern militants have allegedly taken shelter and ask for the immediate extradition of three Ulfa leaders during home secretary level talks to start in Dhaka on Tuesday. One of the three leaders is Anup Chetia whose extradition India has been seeking for a long time. India is likely to assure Bangladesh that it will help locate the conspirators in the assassination of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. According to Dhaka, they are hiding in India. The Indian security establishment including intelligence agencies  are disturbed about the growing number of camps set up by Northeastern militants in Bangladesh, increasing from 66 last year to 77 this year. The Indian home secretary will ask Bangladesh to crack down on these bases. The Awami League government has handed over many Indian insurgents to Delhi. A Bangladeshi court has sentenced Ulfa leader Paresh Barua to death in absentia.
There has been a series of talks over the Ulfa issue between the Centre and the pro-peace wing of the Ulfa led by Chairman Arabindo Rajkhowa. So far no progress has been made beyond finalizing the modalities of talks. Until Anup Chetia is handed over to India and is at the peace talks, no decisive action can be taken. The greatest hurdle is the continuing militancy of Paresh Barua whose whereabouts are not known. The cooperation of Bangladesh, Myanmar, Bhutan and maybe China is necessary to snuff out Ulfa militancy in Assam’s Barak Valley. What is encouraging is that the Ulfa receives no support from the local people. But the infighting in the ruling Congress in the state and the weakening of chief minister Tarun Gogoi’s hold over the party complicates matters.


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