Officials: Top Indian Rebel Arrested
Officials: Top Indian Rebel Arrested - ABC News
The commander of a powerful rebel movement in India's remote northeast was arrested along with a top deputy, officials said Friday, in a major blow to a separatist army already crippled by a string of arrests.
Indian officials said publicly that Arabinda Rajkhowa surrendered Friday. But security officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the chairman of the United Liberation Front of Asom, or ULFA, was actually arrested days earlier in Bangladesh, where he had long been thought to be hiding. The exact date was unclear.
Because the two neighbors have no extradition treaty, he was informally handed over to Indian authorities, said the security officials, who asked not to be named because of the sensitivity of the issue. Bangladeshi authorities denied arresting Rajkhowa.
The details of the capture — which also included the apprehension of the rebels' deputy military chief, a bodyguard, and seven relatives of the militants — were hazy. It was not clear if the arrests had been negotiated or if those detained were dropped off on the Indo-Bangladeshi border by authorities so they could be officially taken into custody inside India on Friday.
But the official account — with the militants detained as they wandered along a guarded frontier — appeared an unlikely scenario for the capture of a hardened rebel who had spent years evading India's clutches.
The militants were "roaming about on the Indian side when our troopers came in contact with them, leading to their surrender," said Ravi Gandhi, a spokesman for the Border Security Force.
He said the group surrendered at the Indian border post of Dawki, in northeastern Meghalaya state, just steps away from Bangladesh.
The rebels have fought for an independent homeland for ethnic Assamese people in India's northeast for the past two decades. At least 10,000 people, most civilians, have died in Assam state because of fighting between government forces and the insurgents, as well as with another separatist group, the National Democratic Front of Boroland.
It is a great success for our diplomacy as well as RAW. Our diplomacy worked very well towards Bangladesh regarding combating terrorism.
India, Bangladesh to jointly combat terrorism
Credit must be given to our intelligence agencies and our policies for bringing ULFA leaders to peace talks.
But there are still some people in ULFA who still believe in armed struggle.
Last edited by seiko; 12-04-2009 at 05:22 PM.
A chronology of Ulfa since its inception
April 7, 1979: United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA) founded under the leadership of Arabinda Rajkhowa along with five others with the aim to establish a "sovereign" Assam.
1979-1985: The group was involved in different violent activities during the six year long Assam agitation, spearheaded by All Assam Students' Union.
May 9, 1990: Ulfa kills Surendra Paul, a leading tea planter and brother of Lord Swraj Paul, causing many tea estate managers to flee the state.
Nov 28, 1990: President's rule imposed in Assam, dismissing the then Prafulla Kumar Mahanta government; Centre bans the ULFA; Indian Army launches Operation Bajrang as counter offencive against the group.
July 1, 1991: Ulfa cadre abduct 14 people including an engineer of erstwhile USSR.
Jan 14, 1992: Operation Rhino against ULFAsuspended by state government as the group agrees for talks.
Apr 11, 1992: Ulfa guns down 10 security personnel.
June 29, 1994: Vice chairman of the group Pradip Gogoi nabbed by security forces.
April 28, 1996: Lt Col Devendra Tyagi shot dead by the terrorists in the Kamakhya temple, Guwahati.
May 18, 1996: Superintendent of Police, Tinsukia, Ravi Kant Singh killed by ULFA.
Jun 8, 1997: Chief minister Prafulla Kumar Mahanta escapes attempt on life after his convoy is ambushed by the ULFAin Guwahati.
July 4, 1997: The banned outfit kills social activist Sanjoy Ghosh.
Jan, 1998: Ulfa general secretary Anup Chetia arrested in Dhaka.
Feb 4, 1999: Ulfa and three other insurgent groups in the region launch their websites.
Sep 24, 1999: BJP Lok Sabha candidate Pannalal Oswal killed in Dhubri ahead of polls by the outfit.
Feb 27, 2000: Ulfa kills the then state PWD and forest minister, Nagen Sharma in Nalbari district.
Dec 15, 2003: Royal Bhutan Army launches military operations against the Ulfa, NDFB and KLO terrorists.
Dec 22, 2003: Ulfa seeks safe passage from China for its cadre from Bhutan.
Nov 18, 2004: Ulfa chairman Arabinda Rajkhowa expresses willingness to begin a peace dialogue with the Centre.
Oct 26, 2005: Negotiations between the Centre and the Ulfa-nominated People's Consultative Group start in New Delhi.
Jan 1, 2006: Rajkhowa demands release of senior leaders of Ulfa before holding direct talks with New Delhi.
July 1, 2006: The outfit expresses willingness to hold direct talks with the Centre.
Aug 13, 2006: The Centre stops all operations by security forces against the Ulfa for a few days.
Aug 31, 2006: Paresh Barua in a communique assures the Union Government that its jailed leaders will not abscond, after being released.
Sep 24, 2006: Government resumes counter-insurgency operations against Ulfa after the deadline for ceasefire expired on September 20.
Sep 27, 2006: PCG pulls out from the peace talks with the Union Government.
Oct 30, 2008: About 77 persons killed and more than 300 injured in 13 near-simultaneous blasts in Assam.
Dec 21, 2008: General secretary of Ulfa, Golap Barua alias Anup Chetia, moves to the UN for refugee status once released from Bangladesh jail where he was under trial.
Jul 21, 2008: The Centre confirms that Paresh Baruah has moved out of Bangladesh for some time.
Oct 14, 2008: Home minister P Chidambaram said talks with the Ulfa only after it abjures violence.
Nov 6, 2009: Ulfa's 'foreign secretary' Sashadhar Choudhury and 'finance secretary' Chitraban Hazarika surrender before BSF near Agartala.
Dec 4, 2009 : Ulfa 'chairman' Arabinda Rajkhowa and 'Deputy commander-in-chief' Raju Baruah along with family members surrender to Indian authorities along Indo-Bangla border in Meghalaya.
Any insurgency without political leadership is less credited .....there is a need for soft political power to keep people glued to the insurgency.
it may get messier for some time but sense prevails in the end.
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