statesman news service
DHAKA/NEW DELHI, 21 JUNE: In a move that will give a leg up to the peace process in Assam, separatist Ulfa leader Anup Chetia, imprisoned in Bangladesh, has sought repatriation to India along with two other detained members of the outfit.
“Mr Chetia has expressed his willingness to return to India and we have forwarded his petition to our home ministry for consideration,” Mr Tawhidul Islam, senior superintendent of Rajshahi Central Jail said. Mr Islam said Mr Chetia, who had earlier sought political asylum in Bangladesh, also wanted repatriation of two other detained Ulfa leaders, Mr Laxmiprasad Goswami and Mr Babul Sharma.
Bangladesh police arrested Mr Chetia in 1997. He was subsequently handed down a seven-year jail term by a court for cross-border intrusion, carrying fake passports and illegally keeping foreign currency.
Despite completing his term, Mr Chetia has been kept in jail under a 2003 High Court directive to keep him in safe custody until the government makes a decision on his petition seeking political asylum in Bangladesh.
In New Delhi, a senior home ministry official said the Ulfa general secretary has applied to a Bangladesh court for withdrawal of his petition seeking asylum in Bangladesh and requesting repatriation to India. The court is expected to take a view on his applications within the next fortnight. “Hopefully, he will be back in India by next month,” the official said.