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Updated: December 9, 2009 12:57 IST

Rajkhowa was apprehended by the BSF, says Chidambaram

PTI
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NO SURRENDER: ULFA Chairman Arabinda Rajkhowa being produced before CJM Court in Guwahati. Home Minister P Chidambaram validated Rajkhowa's claims that he had not surrendered. Mr. Chidambaram said he was apprehended by the BSF. Photo: PTI
PTI NO SURRENDER: ULFA Chairman Arabinda Rajkhowa being produced before CJM Court in Guwahati. Home Minister P Chidambaram validated Rajkhowa's claims that he had not surrendered. Mr. Chidambaram said he was apprehended by the BSF. Photo: PTI

Government today said ULFA top leader Arabinda Rajkhowa was “apprehended” by the BSF on Meghalaya-Bangladesh border and later arrested by Assam Police as he was wanted in connection with several cases.

Replying to supplementaries during Question Hour in Rajya Sabha, Home Minister P Chidambaram said the leaders of the banned United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA) would be treated with dignity as and when peace talks take place with them.

“On information that BSF has apprehended two or three people on the border of Meghalaya and Bangladesh, a team of police officers from Assam went there and took (them into) custody,” he said.

After their identities were established, Assam police apprehended them as they were wanted in connection with many cases, he said.

Asked if the Government intends to talk to the arrested ULFA leadership “with gun held at their temple,” Chidambaram said due dignity will be maintained in the talks, when they happen. “Certainly they (ULFA leaders) will be treated with dignity (when talks happen). If there is an offer of talks, we will be happy to hold talks,” he said adding the Centre was willing to talk to all insurgent groups of North East including ULFA if they abjure violence, lay down arms and give up demand for sovereignty.

He, however, added that there has been no offer of talks from ULFA till now. The Home Minister hoped ULFA would make a political statement. But so far no such pronouncement has been made.

“However, two companies of the self-styled 28 Battalion of ULFA, who have declared unilateral ceasefire, have submitted a charter of demands to the state government,” he said.

Of the other insurgent groups in Assam, Chidambaram said tripartite talks are presently underway with Dima Halam Daogah (DHD) and United Peoples Democratic Solidarity (UPDS).

Government has appointed a representative to negotiate with these groups to hasten the peace process, he said. He also said the ceasefire in Nagaland was by and large adhered to and militancy in Tripura has been largely contained.

While tripartite dialogue is presently underway with the National Democratic Front of Bodoland (NDFB), the anti-talk faction of NDFB led by Ranjan Daimari still continues to oppose the peace process, he said.

Chidambaram said the matter of closer cooperation on security issues including counter terrorism and presence of Indian insurgent groups are regularly taken up with Myanmar, Bangladesh, Bhutan and Nepal at various levels.

With these countries, India has raised the issue of mechanism of sharing of real time information on security related matters, effective border management to check cross border terrorism and action against organised smugglers of arms and ammunitions.

New Delhi also wants closer cooperation between border guarding forces, action against illicit trafficking in drugs and enhanced cooperation in capacity building in police and other law enforcement agencies.

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