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India asks Bangladesh to hand over ULFA chief


New Delhi : India’s central paramilitary force Saturday gave a list of 117 northeast militant camps operating on Bangladesh soil to its Bangladeshi counterpart and also asked them to hand over United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA) chief Paresh Barua.

India claims Barua is hiding in Bangladesh. But Bangladesh Rifles (BDR) chief Major General Shakil Ahmed emphatically stated that Barua is “no longer staying” in his country.

“Paresh Barua is no longer staying in Bangladesh. We don’t harbour any Indian terrorist or criminal in our territory,” Ahmed said at a joint press conference here with Director General of Border Security Force (BSF) A.K. Mitra after a five-day border coordination conference.

“If we find Indian criminals staying in Bangladesh, we are ready to hand them over to Indian authorities,” Ahmed added.

India had consistently maintained that Barua, 51, against whom Interpol issued a red corner notice in 1997, has been operating from Bangladesh.

Barua is believed to be spearheading the ULFA fight for a separate homeland in India’s northeastern state Assam.

Ahmed said insurgency in India’s northeast was a “threat” to Bangladesh and his country did not harbour terror outfits groups or provide any support to its leaders.

“Terrorists and insurgency in the northeast is a threat to Bangladesh. We don’t want insurgency in the region because it spills over to Bangladesh. There is no question of any camp being set up and run in Bangladesh,” he stressed.

However, BSF chief Mitra said that 117 camps of northeastern militant groups are still operating on Bangladeshi land.

“We have given to BDR a list of 117 terrorist camps currently operating in Bangladesh,” Mitra said.

Last year the BSF, which guards a 4,095.7 km border – 2,979 km on land and 1,116 km along rivers – had given its counterpart a list of 141 militant camps operating in the neighbouring country.

When asked about the possibility of extraditing ULFA general secretary Anup Chetia, presently lodged in a Dhaka jail, Ahmed said the countries don’t share an extradition treaty and Chetia is still facing trial in Bangladeshi courts.