NEW DELHI, Aug 1 �� Hailing the announcement of a unilateral ceasefire by pro-talk faction of ULFA, Union Home Minister P Chidambaram said India has formally requested Bangladesh to hand over ULFA general secretary Anup Chetia.
Chetia is in jail in Bangladesh and there is a case pending against him in a court. �We have requested that Chetia be handed over as soon as possible,� Chidambaram said.
Sources said that there is a strong possibility of Chetia being handed over to India ahead of the Prime Minister�s visit to Dhaka in September.
The ULFA leader, whose jail term ended in February 2003, would be handed over to the Indian authorities under the agreements on Transfer of Sentenced Persons and Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters, sources disclosed.
The agreements were signed during Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina�s visit to India last January. The Prime Minister of India had requested her to hand over the arrested ULFA leaders, including Chetia.
Meanwhile, presenting his monthly report card, Chidambaram said it is expected that a Suspension of Operation (SoO) Agreement will be signed with ULFA and ground rules for observing the agreement would be finalised in the near future. �Government of India, in consultation with the Government of Assam, would facilitate an early start to the talks,� he said
�ULFA has issued a press release announcing their resolution to cease all forms of armed campaign for an indefinite period. I welcomed the decision and am confident that this will contribute to long-term peace and normalcy in Assam,� the Home Minister said.
However, Chidamabaram further added that on July 5, a notification declaring ULFA as an unlawful association under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967 was published in the Gazette of India.
Meanwhile, Chidamabaram said that Assam was put on alert last month. In July it is observed that some groups observe some days in the month, he added.
About the bomb blast in Manipur, the Home Minister said that it was a serious matter and the Centre had intelligence report suggesting that autonomous district council members would be targeted. Despite best of efforts the blast took place in a bus, he said.
The election of the ADC was a step forward but there are forces in Manipur which do not like the idea of ADC. �I feel sad that while we are talking to NSCN, the incident took place,� he said.
About the progress of the border fencing and road projects along Indo-Bangladesh border, the Home Minister said 17 km of fencing and 22 km of road works were completed in July under phase II of the project. At least 14 km of fencing were replaced in July under phase III of the project. Poles for floodlighting were erected on a stretch of 33 km and cables were laid on a 16-km stretch in July.
About the progress of work along India-China border, he reported that construction of 23 roads totalling 700 km is in progress. At least73.29 km of formation work and 22.70 km of surfacing works were completed in July. So far, a total of 373.09 km of formation works and 71.69 km of surfacing works have been completed.