In a major setback to the United Liberation Front of Asom, its top leader Arabinda Rajkhowa has been detained in Bangladesh and is likely to be handed over to India soon.
Another top northeast insurgent leader of the banned National Liberation Front of Tripura, Biswa Mohan Deb Barma, has also been detained by the authorities in Bangladesh.
Top government sources said 53-year-old Rajkhowa was picked up by sleuths of Bangladeshi security agencies last week and kept in a secured location in Dhaka while Deb Barma was detained in the southeastern port city of Chittagong.
For the record, Home Secretary G K Pillai and his Bangladesh counterpart Abdus Sobhan Sikder, who is currently in India, said they do not have official confirmation of Rajkhowa's detention.
"Because I am away from the country, I do not have such information till now," Sikder told mediapersons when asked about the development.
Pillai said, "We also have no official information of arrest of Arabinda Rajkhowa in Bangladesh or anywhere else."
Efforts are on to bring Rajkhowa, Deb Barma and another ULFA activist Bhaity Barua, who was also picked up along with Rajkhowa, to India.
National Security Advisor M K Narayanan said, "I don't think he (Rajkhowa) has been arrested. If at all it will happen, probably he may surrender."
Union Home Minister P Chidambaram said in Parliament that he was expecting a political statement from ULFA in the next few days and if it offers talks, the government will accept provided the outfit abjures violence and gives up the demand for sovereignty.