ULFA leader Anup Chetia, currently in jail in Bangladesh, has expressed willingness to be repatriated to India -- where he is wanted for murder, abductions and extortion -- if there were no legal complications, a media report said on Friday. Indian High Commission's official J P Singh met Chetia yesterdaat the Kashimpur Central Jail and spoke to the ULFA leader in the presence of jail Superintendent Md Mizanur Rahman, bdnews24 reported. Singh asked Chetia whether he was interested in repatriation to India.
During the 45-minute discussion, Chetia said he was interested to go back to India if there were no legal complications, the report said. Police arrested him on December 21, 1997 from Dhaka's Mohammadpur. The Ulfa's founder general secretary sought political asylum in Bangladesh thrice in 2005, 2008 and in 2011 after Bangladesh police arrested him in December 1997 and was subsequently handed down seven years of jail terms by two courts for cross-border intrusion, carrying fake passports and illegally keeping foreign currencies.
Despite the expiry of his term, Chetia was in jail under a 2003 High Court directive asking authorities to keep him in safe custody until a decision was taken on his asylum plea.
India wants Chetia back so that he could join other ULFA leaders in the peace process with the government.
Paresh Barua, who heads the outfit's military wing, is opposed to peace talks. He faces death penalty in Bangladesh for his involvement in trying to smuggle ten truckloads of weapons in Chittagong in 2004. Since its inception in 1979, the ULFA has been pursuing an armed rebellion against the Indian government. Bangladesh has signed an extradition treaty with India mutually agreeing to deport wanted "criminals" hiding or lodged in jails in each other's country. Under the agreement, only persons with charges like murders, culpable homicide and other serious offences would come under the purview of the deal while offenders of small crimes awarded with imprisonment for less than one year will also not be wanted under the treaty.