Shillong, June 17 (IANS): Bangladesh's envoy to India Tariq Ahmad Karim has asked India to have patience with Dhaka over the issue of handing over India's most wanted separatist rebel, United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA) general secretary Anup Chetia, who is at present in a Bangladeshi jail.
"India and Bangladesh are friendly neighbours and India has been requesting Bangladesh to extradite Anup Chetia like other Indian terrorists; but he (Chetia) has applied for political asylum and that takes legal course of action," Karim told IANS in an interview here.
The Bangladeshi High Commissioner to India added that no country in the world can subvert its own legal system. "India must have patience, and definitely our government will act on this issue according to the law of our land," Karim said.
He however added that if Chetia had not applied for political asylum like some of the ULFA leaders, he would have been pushed back to India long ago. "Bangladesh too is fighting against terrorists. We don't provide shelter knowingly to any terrorists on our soil; so we are also acting on the issue," the Bangladesh envoy said.
Chetia is wanted in India for various crimes, including murder, kidnapping and extortion. He was arrested in Assam in 1991 but was freed by the state government.
In 1997, the ULFA general secretary was arrested in Dhaka for illegally entering Bangladesh and for illegally carrying foreign currencies and a satellite phone. He is under detention on completion of his jail term.
In 2008, Chetia applied to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees seeking political asylum in Bangladesh, contending he had been fighting for a 'sovereign' Assam.
Although Bangladesh never officially acknowledged handing over of several top Indian rebel leaders to India, it is now an open secret that Dhaka facilitated their arrests by capturing them and later handing them over to Indian authorities.
Those handed over include ULFA chairman Arabinda Rajkhowa, deputy commander-in-chief Raju Baruah, self-styled foreign secretary Sasha Choudhury, finance secretary Chitraban Hazarika and other leaders of the outfit, as well as National Democratic Front of Bodoland chief Ranjan Daimary.