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Extradition of ULFA(I) chairman may take time
R Dutta Choudhury

Dr Mukul Hazarika
 GUWAHATI, July 17 - Though the National Investigating Agency (NIA) is likely to start extradition process against the chairman of the United Liberation Front of Asom (Independent), Dr Abhizeet Asom alias Dr Mukul Hazarika, he may get some “breathing space” as such proceedings take some time because of legal complications.Security sources told The Assam Tribune that till he took over as the chairman of the ULFA(I), Dr Hazarika was not involved in any militant activity. But he was sympathetic to the cause of the ULFA and was known more as a human rights activist. In the past, there were instances of Dr Hazarika remaining in touch with the leaders of the ULFA and offering his guidance on political issues. But after a division in the ranks of the ULFA with a faction led by its chairman Arabinda Rajkhowa opting for talks with the Government of India, Dr Hazarika was made the chairman of the hard-line faction, which is now known as the ULFA(I).

Sources revealed that during the course of the investigation, the NIA established the fact that London-based Dr Hazarika is in fact the new ULFA(I) chairman Abhizeet Hazarika. He hails from Puranigudam in Nagaon district and left for Britain after passing out from the Gauhati Medical College. He works in a private hospital in London and has a house in the outskirts of the city.

Though he was not directly involved with any militant activity till he took over as the chairman of the ULFA(I), Dr Hazarika was connected with militant groups for a long time and the NIA investigation revealed that at one point of time, he also had close ties with the pro-Khalistani groups. However, it is not known whether he still maintains such links.

Dr Hazarika, despite being a practising doctor in Britain, used to move around quite a lot and the NIA has also obtained the details of his passport. After taking over as the chairman of the ULFA(I), he visited the Taga camps of the ULFA(I) and NSCN(K) on a few occasions and delivered lectures to motivate the cadres. The security agencies now have the video recordings of Dr Hazarika addressing the cadres of the ULFA(I) and having meetings with the leaders of the NSCN(K).

Sources said that Dr Hazarika used different routes to visit Myanmar after taking over as the ULFA(I) chairman and on some occasions, he entered the neighbouring country through Thailand. He also visited Nepal but the reason for such visit is yet to be ascertained.

Sources admitted that though enough evidence has been collected against Dr Hazarika to seek his extradition, he may get a breathing space as the legal process would take some time and the possibility of him moving out of London by taking advantage of the situation cannot be ruled out.

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