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Two ULFA leaders produced in court

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United Liberation Front of Assam leaders, Sashadhar Choudhury (right) and Chitraban Hazarika (centre) arrive at the Chief Judicial Magistrate Court in Guwahati on Saturday.
United Liberation Front of Assam leaders, Sashadhar Choudhury (right) and Chitraban Hazarika (centre) arrive at the Chief Judicial Magistrate Court in Guwahati on Saturday.

Special Correspondent

Outfit calls 12-hour Assam bandh tomorrow demanding their unconditional release

Guwahati: Two top leaders of the United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA) — Sashadhar Choudhury and Chitraban Hazairka were produced before the court of Chief Judicial Magistrate, Kamrup (Metropolitan), here on Saturday by the Special Operation Unit of the Assam police.

Although the police sought 14-day custody of the two, the court remanded them to 10 days, said senior advocate and counsel for the two ULFA leaders, Bijan Mahajan.

The ULFA has called for a 12-hour Assam bandh from 6 a.m. on Monday demanding unconditional release of the two leaders.

In a statement issued through e-mail, ULFA chairman Arabinda Rajkhowa described the arrest of the two leaders as a “ploy to sabotage the process of finding a political solution to the problem and destroy ULFA militarily.”

The ULFA leaders believed to have been arrested in Dhaka on November 1 midnight and handed over to the Border Security Force (BSF) in Tripura, were flown in a chartered aircraft to the city on Friday and immediately taken away to Assam Police (Special Branch) headquarters at Kahilipara.

The Assam police, however, maintained that the ULFA leaders had surrendered before the BSF in Tripura while fleeing crackdown against the outfit by Bangladesh.

The ULFA chairman’s statement alleged that Choudhury and Hazarika were missing since they had been picked up by unidentified gunmen in civvies on November 1 midnight in Bangladesh.

Both the ULFA leaders were in handcuffs when brought to the CJM court under heavy police escort. The court premises were crowded with journalists and curious onlookers.

Replying to questions from journalists, Choudhury said they had not surrendered and that they were arrested by Bangladesh police commandos. Asked about the whereabouts of ULFA chief Paresh Barua, Choudhury said he had no idea where the ULFA chief was.

Of the 16 members of the ULFA’s central executive committee, four are in a Guwahati jail: vice-chairman Pradip Gogoi, adviser Bhimkanta Buragohain, cultural secretary Pranati Deka, central publicity secretary Mithinga Daimari. Another leader Ramu Mech is on parole.

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