Chidambaram in Bangladesh – Border killings discussed, no update on Anup Chetia handover

By- Correspondent | Date- August 1, 2011

Union Home Minister P. Chidambaram who was in Dhaka over the weekend announced that India and Bangladesh were determined to jointly combat the menace of militancy and terrorism and that India was now comfortable with security cooperation with Bangladesh.

During the visit, Chidambarm was expected to take up two important issues.

The issue of border killings and border Crime

The Union home minister met Bangladesh home minister Sahara Khatun and signed the much debated border management plan. This plan strives to put a check on the border killings and other crimes along the border.

It is to be mentioned that just a day before celebrating the 40th Anniversary of Bangladesh Independence; the country’s Home Minister Shahara Khatun had reported the death of as many as 136 Bangladeshis due to gunshots by Indian Border Security Force since January, 2009. This had raised eye brows across diplomats of South Asia. Her further stating about 1,000 Bangladeshis were killed by Indian border guards over the last decade, as reported by Human Rights Watch, an international human rights group also had come as an important cause of concern between the relationships of the two countries.

The proposed plan will also deal with human trafficking, arms smuggling and insurgency activities across the border. About 700 vulnerable stretches have been identified for action against traffickers and tightening of joint border patrolling.

Officials of both countries are hopeful that the signing of the border management plan will lead to quite some change in the aspect.

Handover of Anup Chetia:

Chidambaram was expected to press for the handover of Anup Chetia, the General Secretary of ULFA. Anup Chetia who presently is under special custody of Bangladesh Government with a new as Anupam Saiki has been long pressed to be brought back to Assam for the upcoming lateral talks between ULFA and Union of India. Chetia has been known to be still working for the outfit. Sources have revealed to Times of Assam that the newly appointed Assistant Foreign Secretary of ULFA hardliner faction Dr Pranmay Asom has been under guidance of Anup Chetia. It is expected that Chetia joining the lateral talk process would boost the peace and conflict transformation process underway in Assam.

However no news on this front has been known yet on development on discussion over Anup Chetia handover.

Interestingly, Chidambaram was also known to have avoided any discussion around ULFA C-in-C, Paresh Baruah who is still opposed to the notion of talks with the Government of India. As mentioned in Times of Assam several times, there are several evidences which suggest that the Bangladesh Government has been assisting Paresh Baruah even in recent days.

Chidambaram’s was the last of the visits by top Indian officials before Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s scheduled visit on September 6-7. Foreign minister S.M. Krishna was there last month.

Anup ChetiaAnupam SaikiaAssamChidambaramIndiaNorth East IndiaParesh BaruahULFAUnited Liberation Front of Asom