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Chetia’s family back home

- Hope of Ulfa leader’s return to Assam brightens

Jorhat, May 17: Ulfa general secretary Anup Chetia’s wife and two children arrived at his Jeraigaon residence in Dibrugarh district last night, triggering hope that the Ulfa leader, who is still in Bangladesh, will return soon.

Chetia’s wife Monica Barua, son Bumoni aka Juman, 22, and daughter Bulbuli, 18, were in Bangladesh after the Ulfa leader was arrested in the neighbouring country in 1997 on various charges, including illegal domicile. Chetia has completed his jail term but is still in Bangladesh. He had reportedly filed a petition in the Supreme Court in that country not to hand him over to India.

Monica, who hails from Demow in Sivasagar district, refused to divulge details about how she and her children arrived in Assam and appealed to newspersons to ensure Chetia’s return. She also kept both her children out of media glare.

Family sources said Bumoni had completed his graduation while Bulbuli was a medical student. Both were studying in Dhaka.

Monica had reportedly contacted a few persons in Assam a few months ago about the children’s education prospects in the state and had asked them to explore the possibility of her daughter getting admission in a medical college.

Dibrugarh superintendent of police Rana Bhuyan told The Telegraph that the police had heard about the arrival of Chetia’s family. “We are looking into the matter. If required we will question them,” he said.

A team from Chabua police station had visited Chetia’s residence last night.

Sources said Monica and her children had arrived at her Demow residence a few days back. They came to Chetia’s house around 9 last night. Today they visited Ulfa leader Paresh Barua’s residence and met his mother Miliki Barua. Chetia and Barua hail from the same village.

A team from the pro-talks group of Ulfa, led by Antu Choudang, visited Chetia’s house and met Monica and the two children.

Chetia alias Golap Barua and his family were reportedly staying in a six-storey building in Dhaka’s Shyamoli district when he was arrested on December 21, 1997. He was known as John David Solaiman and worked as an executive of an NGO. Chetia has been a fugitive since 1992 when the Indian government put him on the “wanted” list for various crimes. He is known to be one of the chief architects, along with Ulfa leaders Paresh Barua and Arabinda Rajkhowa, of the separatist movement in Assam.

While Rajkhowa, the outfit’s chairman who was arrested in December 2009 after allegedly crossing over from Bangladesh, is in talks with the government, Barua, the outfit’s commander-in-chief, is still a fugitive and now heads Ulfa (Independent). Chetia and Barua are relatives.

India is keen on bringing back Chetia as it feels that his involvement would give more weight to the ongoing peace process with the pro-talks group. The pro-talks leaders are also putting pressure on the government to initiate the process to bring back Chetia.


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