Anup Chetia Handed Over to India

ULFA leader Anup Chetia was handed over by Bangladesh to India. Chetia, who was in Bangladesh since his arrest by the neighbouring country’s police in 1997, was handed over to India at the personal intervention of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and through active involvement of NSA Ajit Doval.

The development follows on the heels of the deportation to India of underworld don Chhota Rajan, one of country’s most- wanted criminals, who was on the run for 27 years.

Chetia, a founding member of ULFA and its general secretary, is wanted for murder, abductions and extortion in India.

He had sought political asylum in Bangladesh thrice in 2005, 2008 and in 2011 after Bangladesh police arrested him in December 1997 and was subsequently handed seven years of jail terms by two courts for cross-border intrusion, carrying fake passports and illegally keeping foreign currencies.

The Assamese insurgent leader was once arrested in Assam in 1991, but was freed by the state government and fled to Bangladesh.

Chetia founded the Ulfa in 1979 with five other leaders, including the outfit’s commander-in-chief Paresh Baruah who is now believed to be hiding somewhere in China or Myanmar, having escaped Bangladesh earlier.

Rajkhowa and other Ulfa leaders Sasha Choudhury and Chitraban Hazarika have initiated peace talks with the Indian government.

The United Liberation Front of Assam (ULFA) is a separatist outfit operating in Assam, North East India. It seeks to establish a sovereign Assam via an armed struggle in the Assam conflict.

The government of India banned the organisation in 1990 citing it as a terrorist organisation, while the United States Department of State lists it under “other groups of concern.”

Military operations against the ULFA by the Indian Army began in 1990 and continue into the present.

On 5 December 2009, the chairman and the deputy commander-in-chief of ULFA was taken into Indian custody.

In 2011, there was a major crackdown on the UFLA in Bangladesh, which greatly assisted the government of India in bringing ULFA leaders to talks.

In January 2010, ULFA softened its stance and dropped demands for independence as a condition for talks with the Government of India.

On 3 September 2011, a tripartite agreement for Suspension of Operations (SoO) against ULFA was signed between the Indian government, the Assam government and the ULFA.