New Delhi, Nov 21 India and Bangladesh Monday pledged to soon sign an extradition treaty, assuring each other of all possible cooperation in apprehending and deporting wanted fugitives hiding in their respective countries.
These criminals include killers of Bangladesh founder Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, believed to be hiding in India, and United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA) leader Anup Chetia who is in Bangladesh since his arrest in 1997 and has sought political asylum there.
At a joint press conference following their talks, Home Secretary R.K. Singh and his Bangladesh counterpart Monzur Hossain appreciated the existing level of cooperation and action taken to address the menace of terrorism and extremism by the two countries.
On the possible deportation of Chetia, Hossain said it had not happened so far because of some legal issues.
“Legal matters are not in our hands. Once that is done, we will take appropriate action at the earliest,” he said.
Bangladesh sought Indian assistance in locating and handing over the killers of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.
Promising all possible help, the Indian side sought additional information on this.
“We will be happy to apprehend these killers. We have asked for more information because we have not been able to locate them. We will leave no stone unturned to unearth them,” Singh told reporters.
Hossain was asked if Bangladesh had shared the information regarding Mujib killers hiding in India. “That is the information given to India. We expect India to do the needful. We are very hopeful about that. They will hand over the killers to us hopefully when more information will be available to Indian security forces.”
The two sides issued a joint statement at the conclusion of the two-day security talks on expanding and strengthening mutual cooperation in security and border-related issues.
Allaying New Delhi’s concerns, Hossain reaffirmed that Bangladesh has “zero tolerance” for anti-India activities on its soil.
“Anti-India forces are not active in Bangladesh. We don’t allow them. We don’t allow them to do anything like that,” Hossain.
Hossain, however, added that aberrations do occur. “That is a different issue. They will not be tolerated.”
The assurance comes after India during the 12th meeting of the home secretaries of the two countries raised concerns over the terror outfit Harkat-ul-Jihad-al-Islami (HuJI) trying to regroup in Bangladesh.
The terror outfit is suspected to be involved in recent attacks in India, including the September bomb blast outside the Delhi High Court.
Both sides agreed to operationalise Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty (MLAT) that was signed during Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s visit to New Delhi in January last year, according to a joint statement issued after the talks.
“Both sides agreed that extradition treaty, under consideration by both the governments, may be finalised at an early date,” the statement said.
“The draft has been shared and we are going through it. It is taking time. We are scrutinising it,” Singh said.
Other issues raised during the talks between Singh and Hossain include cross-border terror, and police-to-police co-operation in capacity building and training, a home ministry spokesperson said.