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Wednesday, 02 December 2009

Amid signs of growing tacit cooperation against terrorists, insurgents and criminals, Bangladesh and India have finalised the drafts of three major agreements to enhance formal bilateral collaboration against law-breakers of either country.

Home secretary Abdus Sobhan Sikder and his Indian counterpart G K Pillai finalised the drafts of Agreements on Mutual Legal Assistance on Criminal Matters, Transfer of Sentenced Persons and Combating International Terrorism, Organized Crime and Illicit Drug Trafficking.

The three agreements are now ready to be signed during prime minister Sheikh Hasina's visit to New Delhi later this month.

The drafts of the agreements have been finalised during the 10th home secretary-level talks between Bangladesh and India in New Delhi.

The four-day-talks concluded on Wednesday.

Sikder and Pillai told a news conference on Wednesday that both sides had agreed to develop mechanisms to further hasten the process of verification of nationality status of prisoners lodged in the jails of the two countries to particularly of those who had already completed their sentences so that they could be repatriated early.

Dhaka and Delhi also agreed to redouble efforts to locate criminals under Interpol Red Corner Notices in either country.
The home secretaries also agreed to take immediate action on the basis of real time and actionable information

"Both sides condemned terrorism in all its manifestations and reaffirmed their commitments not to allow the use of territory of either country for any activity inimical to each other's interests," said Sikdar.

The talks took place at a time when Dhaka and Delhi apparently stepped up tacit cooperation in the fight against criminals and terrorists.

Pillai confirmed that the Border Security Force (BSF) early on Wednesday morning detained suspected terrorists Thadiyantavide Nazeer and Shafaz from near the country's border with Bangladesh in the northeastern state of Meghalaya.

Nazeer originally hails from southern Indian city of Kerala. He is suspected to be linked with terrorist organisations like Indian Mujahideen and Lashkar-e-Taiba. He is also believed to be the mastermind of the 2005 terrorist attack at the Indian Institute of Science in Bangalore.

Sources said that Nazeer and Shafaz had been detained in Bangladesh and handed over to India a few days back. They had already been intensively grilled by the officials of India's Intelligence Bureau.

The detention and handover of Nazeer and Shafaz follow a new formula of covert cooperation that Bangladesh and India have been following since early last month.

Two top leaders of the proscribed Indian insurgent organisation ULFA were detained by the BSF near the India-Bangladesh border in northeastern Indian State of Tripura in the first week of November, after they were allegedly picked up by some "unidentified persons" from a residential area in Dhaka.

Sources said that Dhaka had positively responded to Delhi's request not to formally arrest the ULFA leaders as well as the terrorists like Nazeer and Shafaz, but to informally pick them up and hand over to the BSF on the India-Bangladesh border.

The two countries apparently agreed to follow this formula of informal cooperation, as India and Bangladesh do not have an extradition treaty at present and persons once arrested in one country cannot be easily handed over to other country's government.

The ULFA general secretary Anup Chetia was arrested in Bangladesh for illegally entering and staying in the country, but he could not be handed over to India. Chetia had completed his sentence in Bangladesh, but continued to be behind bars.

The home secretaries on Wednesday stressed the need to expedite the settlement of land boundary related issues, which would be discussed in the next meeting of the Joint Border Working Group.

Asked to react to the reports in Indian media over detention of ULFA chairman Arabinda Rajkhowa in Bangladesh, Sikdar said that he could not confirm or deny the reports as he had been away from the country since last Sunday.

Pillai too said that he had no knowledge of arrest of Rajkhowa in Bangladesh or anywhere else.

The ULFA or the United Liberation Front of Assam is an outlawed insurgent organisation, which had been pursuing an armed rebellion against New Delhi in the India's northeastern state of Assam.

India has been alleging that several ULFA leaders were based in Dhaka and other Bangladeshi cities. New Delhi has also been alleging that the outfit also had a number of training facilities in Bangladesh.

Pillai said that Indian government was thankful to Bangladesh government as the latter had recently foiled the terrorists' plan to attack the Indian High Commission in Dhaka.

Several suspected LeT operatives were recently detained in Bangladesh after the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) alerted Dhaka following interrogation of David Headley and Tawahhur Rana, who were arrested by the American agency in Chicago last October.

Interrogation of Headley and Rana revealed that the LeT had plans to attack the US and Indian missions in Dhaka.

Source: bdnews24.com

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