GUWAHATI, Nov 4 - The National Investigating Agency (NIA) has initiated the process to gather relevant information to seek the extradition of Dr Abhijit Asom, chairman of the United Liberation Front of Asom (Independent), who is believed to be living in the United Kingdom.
Highly placed official sources told The Assam Tribune that all the relevant information about the ULFA(I) chairman would have to be gathered before seeking his extradition and the process of doing that has started. Sources said that the first step would be to get the real identity of the ULFA(I) chairman with enough documentary evidence.
Sources said that according to information available with the security agencies, a UK-based Assamese doctor, Dr Mukul Hazarika is the ULFA(I) chairman Dr Abhijit Asom. But that has to be established with adequate documentary evidence before seeking his extradition from the UK. The ULFA(I) has always been claiming that Dr Mukul Hazarika and Dr Abhijit Asom are two different persons but recent recovery of photographs of Dr Hazarika visiting the ULFA camps in Myanmar and holding meetings with senior leaders of other militant groups gave enough evidence that he is the chairman of the outlawed militant group. In addition to that, the security agencies and the NIA managed to gather some other details to prove that Dr Hazarika and Dr Asom are the same person. However, sources did not divulge the details of the information gathered so far.
Official sources said that as the UK is very strict in following the laws, it should not be difficult to get extradition of Dr Hazarika if adequate proof can be given that he is heading an outfit involved in waging war against India. Now it will have to be examined whether Dr Hazarika has obtained UK citizenship or he is still holding an Indian passport. If he is still holding an Indian passport, it will be easier to get his extradition, sources added.
It may be mentioned here that the ULFA suffered a split after its chairman Arabinda Rajkhowa and several other central committee members were arrested and they later started the process of talks with the Government of India for political solution of the issues raised by them. However, the other faction headed by the commander-in-chief of the outfit, Paresh Baruah, remained at large and refused to join the peace process. The hardline group, which now calls itself ULFA (Independent), later announced a new central committee headed by Dr Abhijit Asom but the real identity of the person remained a mystery.