Guwahati, Tuesday, December 28, 2010
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Bangladesh crackdown puts pressure on ULFA chief

 Shillong, Dec 28 (IANS): The crackdown on the United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA) in Bangladesh will force its elusive leader Paresh Baruah to rethink his intransigent stand, a top official said on Monday.


"Baruah is under tremendous pressure because of the crackdown by Bangladeshi authorities. He will give up some day," Inspector General of Border Security Force (Assam-Meghalaya) RC Saxena told IANS.

Baruah is believed to be in hiding somewhere along the Myanmar-China border after fleeing Bangladesh early 2008.

"These crackdowns (against ULFA) will surely make a positive impact, especially at a time when the peace process with the ULFA is on a right track," Saxena said.

On Saturday, Bangladesh authorities seized 97 bullets, a grenade, seven fuses, three satellite phone sets and a mobile set from Bakakura village in Sherpur district adjacent to India's Meghalaya state.

On Dec 18, they recovered 13,680 rifle bullets - equivalent to 57 packets of ammunition - in plastic sacks from an abandoned room of an octogenarian, Wasir Uddin.

Dhaka last year launched a massive crackdown against the ULFA and the National Democratic Front of Bodoland (NDFB) and got several of their top leaders arrested and handed them over to India.

Among those arrested last year were ULFA chairman Arabinda Rajkhowa, deputy commander-in-chief Raju Baruah, foreign secretary Sasha Choudhury and finance secretary Chitraban Hazarika. The government is now freeing these leaders on bail to pave the way for peace talks.

ULFA general secretary Anup Chetia, however, is in Bangladesh since his arrest there in 1997.

There are chances of Chetia now being extradited to India to help him take part in the proposed peace talks due to start soon.

However, Baruah, who has taken a hard line on the issue of peace talks, has asked ULFA leaders not to compromise or surrender before the Indian government on the outfit's goal and ideology.

"We are not opposed to talks (per se)," Baruah said.

The ULFA has been fighting to secede Assam from India since 1979.

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