Assam cool about rebel business list

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By OUR BUREAU in Guwahati
  • Published 4.06.05

Delhi/Guwahati, June 4: Dispur today reacted with “indifference” to the BSF’s revelations about Ulfa’s business interests in Bangladesh, saying it makes no difference as long as the outfit is interested in carrying forward the peace process.

“Even some NSCN (I-M) leaders were said to have business interests in Thailand. The outfit also has offices in many countries, but that has not hampered the peace process in any way,” a home department official said.

He said Assam police had on earlier occasions, too, handed similar lists to the Centre to take up the matter with Dhaka. The official said Bangladesh had been sitting on the information forwarded by Delhi.

During a director-general-level meet at Dhaka in April, the BSF had handed over to Bangladesh Rifles a list of 190 camps and names of prominent rebel leaders of the Northeast residing there. Sources said details of their business interests were also listed.

However, an agency report from Dhaka said Bangladesh today dismissed as “unfounded” the reports of Ulfa rebels running hotels and nursing homes and having bank accounts in the country.

Delhi is mulling Ulfa’s demand to release its jailed leaders before sitting for talks.

Sources in Delhi said the Centre is weighing two options ? to free the Ulfa office-bearers from jail or to give them free passage so that they can sit for talks and then decide whether to free them or not.

National security adviser M.K. Narayanan reportedly spoke to Assam chief minister Tarun Gogoi this evening on the issue.

The sources said they discussed the need for further talks to set the terms for the Ulfa office-bearers’ release or free passage.