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Bangladesh to hand over ULFA chief, says minister

Bangladesh to hand over ULFA chief, says minister

Author:
Publication: Rediff.com
Date: February 18, 2009
URL: http://www.rediff.com/news/2009/feb/18bangladesh-to-hand-over-ulfa-chief.htm

In an exclusive interview to CNN-IBN, Bangladesh's Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Hasan Mahmud told the channel that the new government in Dhaka has mutually agreed with India to handover United Liberation Front of Asom's chief Anup Chetia, who has been in a Bangladesh jail since 1996.

"We have mutually agreed on the handover, now we have to decide on the formalitiesr. It will also include handing over of Bangladeshi criminals who have fled to India," said Hasan Mahmud.

Mahmud, who is also a special assistant to Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, told the channel that previous Bangladesh governments since 2001 have indeed sponsored terrorism.

"Since 2001, the Bangladesh Nationalist Party and the Jamaat-e-Islami had ministers in their government who chanted slogans to turn Bangladesh into Afghanistan. So they nurtured a range of terrorist organisations. Terrorism in Bangladesh started and then flourished under that government," said Mahmud.

He was also categorical about cross-border linkages of terrorist groups based in Bangladesh.

Excerpts:

Q.: Does Harkat-ul-Jehad-al-Islami still exist?
A.:Yes, definitely. They are banned, but they are in hideouts now.

Q.: Are you trying to find out their hideouts?
A.: Definitely, we are trying to find out their locations.

Q.: Are you going to crack down on them?
A.: Yes, crackdown will indeed happen. Terrorist attacks that have been happening in the region in the past few months -- even in Mumbai -- there are cross-border linkages of these terrorists. Not only Lashker-e-Tayiba and HuJI, but other terror organisations also. They were trained in Afghanistan, they were in Pakistan, and then they came in Bangladesh.


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