First Integrated Check Post on Bangladesh border opened

Bangladesh will hand over extremists and criminals wanted in India in keeping with the extradition treat the two countries signed recently, Bangladesh Home Minister Muhiuddin Khan Alamgir said on Sunday.

However, United Liberation Front of Assam top leader Anup Chetia could not be extradited now because he had mounted an appeal in the Bangladesh Supreme Court. “Anup Chetia has completed his term in jail for his illegal stay in Bangladesh. However, he has moved our Supreme Court against his possible deportation elsewhere, and the court is yet to settle the plea,” he told journalists after his Indian counterpart Sushilkumar Shinde opened an Integrated Check Post (ICP) at Akhaura in Agartala.

This is the first ICP India has built on its border with Bangladesh. An ICP works at Atari in Punjab on the border with Pakistan. The ICP boasts modern infrastructure to facilitate better trade and immigration. India plans to open 13 ICPs along the border with Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal and Myanmar.

Bangladesh Shipping Minister Sahajahan Khan and Tripura Chief Minister Manik Sarkar, who is indisposed, could not turn up for the function.

“The setting up of ICPs along India’s international border is a major infrastructure initiative, and I am confident that the ICP, which became operational today, will be a milestone in the improvement of people-to-people contact and cross-border trade with Bangladesh,” Mr. Shinde said in his speech at the function.

Dr. Alamgir said the ICP would usher in a new era in bilateral relations. He also referred to the role played by the people of Tripura in his country’s war of liberation.

Tripura’s Trade and Commerce Minister Jitendra Choudhury urged Mr. Shinde to approve establishment of eight haats (markets) on the zero line of the border and requested Dr. Alamgir to allow access to the Chittagong port, 75 km from Sabroom in south Tripura.

Mr. Shinde said sanction would be given for haats in Tripura as they were in Meghalaya. He appealed to Dr. Alamgir to allow more imports from the north-eastern India in general, and Tripura in particular, to end the trade imbalance in this sector. Records show Bangladesh exported goods worth Rs. 240 crore and imported products worth a mere Rs. 1 crore through the Akhaura border.

Talking to journalists, Dr. Alamgir denied the presence of any Indian militant group in his country. “Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina stands firm on the issue; if there is any specific information given to us, we would immediately take action.”