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Rediff.com  » News » BSF arrested Rajkhowa at Meghalaya-Bangla border, says Chidambaram

BSF arrested Rajkhowa at Meghalaya-Bangla border, says Chidambaram

Last updated on: December 09, 2009 15:02 IST
The government on Wednesday said the United Liberation Front of Asom's top leader Arabinda Rajkhowa was "apprehended" by the Border Security Force on the Meghalaya-Bangladesh border and later arrested by the Assam police as he was wanted in connection with several cases.

Replying to supplementaries during question hour in the Rajya Sabha, Home Minister P Chidambaram said Ulfa's leaders would be treated with dignity as and when peace talks take place with them.

"On information that the BSF had apprehended two or three people on the border of Meghalaya and Bangladesh, a team of police officers from Assam went there and took (them into) custody," he said.

After their identities were established, the Assam police apprehended them as they were wanted in connection with many cases, he said.

Asked if the government intends to talk to the arrested Ulfa leadership "with guns held at their temple," Chidambaram said due dignity will be maintained in the talks, when they happen. "Certainly they (Ulfa leaders) will be treated with dignity."

"If there is an offer of talks, we will be happy to hold talks," he said, adding that the Centre was willing to talk to all insurgent groups from the north-east including Ulfa if they abjure violence, lay down arms and give up their demand for sovereignty.

He, however, added that there has been no offer of talks from Ulfa till now.

The home minister hoped Ulfa would make a political statement, although so far no such pronouncement has been made.

"However, two companies of the self-styled 28 Battalion of Ulfa, who have declared a unilateral ceasefire, have submitted a charter of demands to the state government," he said.

Of the other insurgent groups in Assam, Chidambaram said tripartite talks areĀ currently underway with the Dima Halam Daogah and the United Peoples Democratic Solidarity.

The government has appointed a representative to negotiate with these groups to hasten the peace process, he said.

He also said the ceasefire in Nagaland was by and large adhered to and militancy in Tripura has been largely contained.

While tripartite dialogue is currently underway with the National Democratic Front of Bodoland, the anti-talk faction of the NDFB led by Ranjan Daimari still continues to oppose the peace process, he said.

Chidambaram said the matter of closer cooperation on security issues including counter-terrorism and presence of Indian insurgent groups are regularly taken up with Myanmar, Bangladesh, Bhutan and Nepal at various levels.

With these countries, India has raised the issue of mechanism of sharing of real time information on security related matters, effective border management to check cross-border terrorism and action against organised smugglers of arms and ammunitions.

New Delhi also wants closer cooperation between border guarding forces, action against illicit trafficking in drugs and enhanced cooperation in capacity building in police and other law enforcement agencies.

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