Extradition of Anup Chetia may run into rough waters

June 30, 2013

Extradition of ULFA general secretary Anup Chetia may run into rough waters yet again, with Bangladesh likely to “indulge in hard bargaining” with New Delhi following delay in signing of the Teesta Water Treaty and Land Boundary swap deal, reports The Assam Tribune on Friday. “Sources in Bangladesh High Commission said that while Dhaka is committed to release Chetia, when, how and where is yet to be worked out. The modalities for his release is yet to be finalised, clarified an official, when asked for his comments” the report said.
On Wednesday, at the talks between pro-talk faction of ULFA and Government of India, it was given to understand that Chetia might be handed over by July 15. However, the extradition seems easier said than done, given the prevailing mood in Dhaka, said sources.
“Indications are that Bangladesh is planning for some hard diplomatic bargaining on the issue of releasing Chetia. India’s growing sense of urgency in having Chetia join the ongoing peace process has apparently not gone un-noticed in Dhaka. “We have noted that India needs him for political purposes and the pressure on New Delhi to let him join the talks with ULFA,” he said.
The ruling UPA Government at the Centre finds itself in a tight position on both the issues, as an adamant West Bengal Chief Minister, Mamata Banerjee has taken a tough stand and opposed the deal.
“But don’t take the impression that we are not going to release him, we will keep our word and hand him over to India, but there are ‘certain issues’, which needs to be sorted out first,” said the official requesting anonymity.
Significantly, two important meetings at the highest level are on the cards and Chetia issue may be part of the bargaining chip. Prime Minister of Bangladesh, Sheikh Hasina is likely to arrive in Delhi in September to meet top leaders including President Pranab Mukherjee, Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh and UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi before Bangladesh gets into poll mode.
However, ahead of Hasina’s visit, External Affairs Minister Salman Khursid is slated to meet Bangladesh Foreign Minister Dipu Moni on the sidelines of the ASEAN Foreign Minister meeting in Brunei scheduled for July 1 and 2.
When asked whether Chetia’s release is going to figure during the discussion between the two Foreign Ministers at Brunei, Official Spokesmen of Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) Syed Akbaruddin skirted the issue, replying that he would not like to comment in advance about what the two leaders were going to talk about.

-With The Independent input

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