Why ULFA leader Anup Chetia should not be a political issue

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New Delhi, Nov 13: The handing over of Anup Chetia, United Liberation Front of Asom (Ulfa) general secretary by Bangladesh to India is all set to become a poll issue in Assam. The local BJP at Assam has already claimed credit for the handing over of Chetia to India.

However, the Congress will counter that and say that it was during the time of the UPA that Bangladesh handed over Ulfa chief Arabinda Rajkhowa and this is what set the motion which resulted in the hand over of Chetia. However officials say that this is not about politics, but one must see a larger picture.

Anup Chetia

With both Rajkhowa and Chetia now in India, the move would be to get Paresh Baruah, the military head of the ULFA back to India. Baruah currently operates out of North Myanmar on the China border.

Baruah's return will complete the cycle:

Barua is the only top leader of the ULFA remaining. With both Chetia and Rajkhowa in India, the return of Baruah would be a major shot in the arm for the Indian agencies. However Baruah has so far shown no signs of a return and it appears that he would want to pursue his goal through violent ways.

However, Indian agencies are hoping that through Chetia they could convince Baruah to give up arms and join the peace process. Assam Chief Minister, Tarun Gogoi had said earlier that he would have preferred if Baruah was on the talking table. However with no signal from Baruah, Gogoi made it clear that he will not wait forever.

Baruah today is the lone important leader of the ULFA who continues to operate. If Chetia can change the public perception in Assam, then without local help Baruah may find it hard to continue operating. It is too early to comment anything on this, an Intelligence Bureau official said while adding that they could hope that Baruah would come on board.

No politics please:

Several officials who have worked tirelessly in bringing back Chetia and Rajkhowa says that it is painful that political parties are seeking credit. While the need of political will to bring back such important operatives is a necessity, spare a thought for the officials who burnt the midnight oil in tracking such persons and also putting together the papers to facilitate their extradition to India.

The process with Bangladesh to have ULFA operatives extradited had begun almost four to five years back. Rajkhowa who was also in Bangladesh was brought down three years back. This in fact set the ball rolling which led to the extradition of Chetia as well, officials would also point out.

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