Home official level talks between India-B''desh begins in Dhaka

Anisur Rahman

Dhaka, Jan 18 (PTI) Bangladesh and Indian HomeMinistry officials today began the crucial Joint Working Group(JWG) meeting, a day ahead of the start of a two-day Secretarylevel talks which is expected to discuss cooperation incounter-terrorism and firing along the international border.

"The joint working group meeting is expected to focusdiscussions on three major issues of frontier situation,cross-border security and on means to develop bilateral ties,"said a Home Ministry official familiar with the process.

He said Home Ministry Joint Secretary Kamaluddin Ahmedleads an 11-member delegation at the joint working groupmeeting with a 10-member Indian delegation being led by IndianHome Office Joint Secretary Shambhu Singh.

Officials said the group was meeting to finalise"joint record of discussions" for the Secretary-level meeting,beginning tomorrow while Home Secretary Abdus Sobhan Shikdarand his counterpart Gopal K Pillai were expected to come upwith a joint statement at the end of their talks on Thursday.

Pillai is expected to take up with Sikder the issue ofearly handing over ULFA general secretary Anup Chetia, who hascompleted his sentence in Bangladesh, to India so that he canparticipate in the proposed peace talks with the bannedoutfit.

Chetia has been languishing in a Dhaka jail even sincehis arrest on December 21, 1997. ULFA chairman ArabindaRajkhowa has also asked government to take steps for the earlyreturn of Chetia.

"Frontier shootouts resulting in deaths of frontiervillagers are to dominate the talks today while we will conveyour concerns on the matter to our counterparts," said aBangladeshi official familiar with the meeting.

The joint working group meeting starts two days afterIndian High Commissioner in Dhaka Rajeet Mitter was summonedby the Foreign Ministry here to lodge a complaint against thekilling of 15-year-old girl Falani allegedly by BorderSecurity Force men earlier this month as she was trying toreturn home from India, where she was working.

A foreign office statement yesterday said the envoyassured it of conveying "the concern of the government ofBangladesh to the concerned Indian authorities" and "expressedthe hope that both countries would be able to work out ways toprevent recurrence of such incidents in the future".

The last Home Secretary level talks between the twocountries were held in 2008 though the two top home ministryofficials are supposed to meet every year alternatively ateach other�s capital.

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