Rajkhowa Likely in Delhi Soon for Talks

Chairman of the banned United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA) Arabinda Rajkhowa is likely to ‘reach India soon’ and announce his readiness to talk to the government, said reports citing sources.

“He is currently in Dhaka,” reports said quoting a source.

Amid much media speculation, the governments of India and Bangladesh have declined to comment on whether Rajkhowa had been arrested.

“Rajkhowa wants to turn himself in to the process of law… surrender,” said the highly placed source. “The modalities are being worked out.”

After reaching India, Rajkhowa is likely to be sent to a Guwahati jail. Ulfa’s publicity secretary Apurba Baruah will also surrender along with Rajkhowa.

However, reports said that the source refused to use terms ‘arrest’ or ‘detention in the context of Rajkhowa.

But he said Rajkhowa’s willingness to talks was a direct result of the pressure India had brought to bear upon him over the past year.

ULFA is a banned separatist group that has been seeking to establish a sovereign Assam. Indian agencies, with the active cooperation of the Sheikh Hasina-led Bangladesh government, have been in hot pursuit of Ulfa and jihadi groups targeting India, but operating out of Bangladesh.

Sasha Choudhury and Chitrabon Hazarika, two other senior leaders of ULFA are already in custody for the last month. Some key operatives of LeT have also been picked in Bangladesh. Even Rajkhowa was pinned down in an operation on October 27, but managed to narrowly get away.

Ulfa commander-in-chief Paresh Baruah, who is based in China, is known to be opposed to talks with India. The rift between him and Rajkhowa also helped India get Rajkhowa to agree to talks. Rajkhowa is “more sophisticated and reasonable,” said the source.

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