The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Zoramthanga Dhaka trip off
- Bad blood forces last-minute cancellation by Delhi

Silchar, Dec. 11: The “cold war” between New Delhi and Dhaka today took its toll on Mizoram chief minister Zoramthanga’s proposed visit to Bangladesh. Zoramthanga was barred, at the eleventh hour, from undertaking a trip to the neighbouring country.

The chief minister and state chief secretary H.V. Lalringa were scheduled to leave for Dhaka today to discuss a proposal to bring back the remains of 30 insurgents of the Mizo National Front who had died in their hideouts in the Chittagong Hill Tracts in the Seventies.

Official sources in Aizawl told The Telegraph that the chief minister received an intimation from New Delhi in the wee hours today, asking him to cancel the visit.

Relations between the two countries nose-dived last month with deputy Prime Minister L.K. Advani blasting Dhaka for harbouring militant groups against India’s interests. Such outfits include the Ulfa, the National Democratic Front of Boroland (NDFB) and the National Liberation Front of Tripura (NLFT).

There are also reports of al Qaida activists regrouping in Bangladesh, who could foment trouble in India.

External affairs minister Yashwant Sinha had said in Lok Sabha on November 27 that the Pakistani high commission in Dhaka had become the “nerve centre” of ISI activities, promoting terrorism and insurgency in India. Some al Qaida elements had taken shelter in Bangladesh, he had said.

The BSF had recently submitted to the Bangladesh Rifles a list of 99 camps of Northeast militant outfits in the neighbouring country. BSF director-general Ajai Raj Sharma had insisted that al Qaida elements were present in Bangladesh and ISI activities were also on the rise there. Though Dhaka has rejected the charge, seeking credible evidence, New Delhi has stuck to its claim.

Sources had claimed that Zoramthanga, who is playing a pivotal role in facilitating the talks between the Centre and NSCN(I-M), would have used the visit to establish links with the Ulfa and the NDFB to explore possibilities for these outfits holding talks with the Centre. The top leaders of the both the banned outfits are known to be based in the country.

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