India-Bangladesh extradition treaty takes effect

Dhaka, Oct 23 (IANS) The extradition treaty between India and Bangladesh became effective Wednesday as the two neighbours exchanged the instruments of ratification of the treaty which allows them to extradite convicts or undertrial criminals.

Bangladesh's Senior Home Secretary C.Q.K. Mostak Ahmed and Indian High Commissioner to Bangladesh Pankaj Saran signed and exchanged the documents, the Daily Star newspaper reported.

"With the signature of the ratification instruments and the exchange, we are now in a position to bring the treaty into effect," the report quoted Saran as saying.

Bangladesh Home Minister Muhiuddin Khan Alamgir and his Indian counterpart Sushilkumar Shinde signed the agreements during a home ministerial meeting in Dhaka Jan 28, Xinhua reported.

The extradition treaty will reportedly benefit India immensely as it will pave the way for the deportation of a number of insurgent leaders currently lodged in Bangladesh jails, including Anup Chetia, general secretary of the United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA).

New Delhi is now in a position to ask Dhaka for deportation of many most wanted people, according to sources.

Anup Chetia of ULFA, a separatist group based in northeast India seeking to establish a sovereign Assam, was arrested in Bangladesh in 1997 and sentenced to seven years in jail for illegal entry and possession of firearms.

Chetia could not be handed over to India till now due to the absence of an extradition treaty between the two countries.

But Bangladesh's Cabinet Secretary M. Musharraf Hossain Bhuiyan had earlier told reporters that "no political detainee will be brought under the purview of the treaty".

Dhaka was also keen to sign the extradition treaty as Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's government is seeking India's help in nabbing and handing over two of the fugitive killers of Bangladesh's founding hero Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.

Sources said Rahman's two killers, Abdul Mazed and Risalder Moslehuddin, are believed to be hiding in India.