Guwahati, May 20 (Calcutta Tube) Indian authorities Thursday rejected reports that Paresh Baruah, one of India’s most wanted fugitives and leader of the United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA), has been arrested in Bangladesh.
‘We have no such reports,’ Union Home Secretary G.K. Pillai told IANS in response to an SMS about the reports.
Local television channels in Assam and some newspapers Thursday reported that ULFA’s elusive commander-in-chief was arrested in Bangladesh about a fortnight ago upon his return from China.
‘It is extremely unlikely that Paresh Baruah would get arrested in such a manner,’ a senior Assam police intelligence official said.
Baruah, who earlier operated out of Bangladesh, was believed to have sneaked out of that country sometime in January and taken shelter in an area along the Myanmar-China border, close to Yunnan province.
The ULFA leader escaped after the new Awami League government of Sheikh Hasina changed gears and decided to crack down on anti-India terror groups in that country.
In the past five months, Bangladesh has handed over five top militant leaders from Assam to Indian authorities – ULFA chairman Arabinda Rajkhowa, deputy commander-in-chief Raju Baruah, foreign secretary Sasha Choudhury, finance secretary Chitraban Hazarika, and the chairman of the outlawed National Democratic Front of Bodoland (NDFB), Ranjan Daimary.
All of them are now in jail, barring Daimary, who is in the custody of the Central Bureau of Investigation.
‘At a time when Bangladesh is stepping up its heat on ULFA and NDFB, a seasoned separatist leader like Paresh Baruah would never enter Bangladesh and get himself captured,’ an central intelligence official said. ‘It is nothing but a rumour.’
-Indo-Asian News Service