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Extradition treaty in Jan

- Bangla pledges Chetia handover

New Delhi, Dec. 4: India and Bangladesh today agreed to sign an extradition treaty in Dhaka next month while Bangladesh reaffirmed its commitment to hand over Ulfa leader Anup Chetia to India.

Union home minister Sushil Kumar Shinde said the two countries would sign the extradition treaty, which is in its final stages of preparation, and a Revised Travel Agreement when he visits Dhaka next month.

The announcement followed a lengthy discussion with Bangladesh home minister Muhiuddin Khan Alamgir at North Block on security issues.

Shinde said India would respond to Bangladesh’s request to track, apprehend and hand over the killers of “father of the nation of Bangladesh” Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rehman.

“I reassured them that we would extend all possible cooperation in this regard, if they are in India,” he added.

Dhaka also reiterated that it would honour its commitments, including extradition of Chetia.

“We stand by our commitment. As of now, Anup Chetia’s appeal for asylum in Bangladesh is pending with the Supreme Court of Bangladesh. Once the legal process is exhausted, a decision will be taken,” Alamgir said during a joint news conference.

He said the decision would be taken on the basis of the understanding and respect that neither country would allow its soil to be used by forces inimical to each other.

The return of Chetia, Ulfa’s general secretary, could mark the beginning of the end of not only the Ulfa problem but also of Paresh Barua, the outfit’s “commander-in-chief”, who is Chetia’s younger cousin and used to be his understudy in the initial years.

Chetia was lodged in a Bangladesh jail for illegal entry into that country. After completing the sentence, he applied for asylum in that country with the help of some NGOs. The Sheikh Hasina-led government is committed to not granting asylum to Chetia.

Sources indicated that Chetia might be ready to give up the idea of asylum and return to join the talks being held between Delhi and the pro-talks group of Ulfa, led by its chairman Arabinda Rajkhowa.

On the execution of the land boundary agreement, Alamgir said Bangladesh had completed all formalities, “procedural and substantial”, on exchange of enclaves. “I hope India will finish the formalities and the problem will rest for ever,” he said.

Shinde said India has completed the survey but a constitutional amendment is needed in Parliament.