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Last Updated: Friday, 25 February, 2005, 17:18 GMT
Jailed Assam rebel seeks asylum
By Waliur Rahman
BBC News, Dhaka

Indian paramilitary
Indian forces have been fighting Assam rebels for two decades
One of India's most wanted men has ended a jail term in Bangladesh but will not seek a quick release as he is applying for asylum in Bangladesh.

Anup Chetia is a senior leader of the separatist group the United Liberation Front of Assam (Ulfa), which is fighting Indian rule in Assam.

He was jailed for more than seven years for illegal entry and possessing huge amounts of foreign currency.

Delhi wants Mr Chetia repatriated to face trial on various charges.

Rights petition

Mr Chetia was arrested in the Bangladeshi capital, Dhaka, along with two associates in December 1997.

Their seven year and three month jail terms ended on Friday.

But Mr Chetia's lawyers said the rebel leader could not be released straight away as his petition seeking political asylum was under review by the authorities in Bangladesh.

He claims that his life could be endangered if he is repatriated to India.

A human rights group filed a petition in the High Court on behalf of Mr Chetia, seeking safe custody until his application for asylum has been considered.

The Indian authorities have long complained that Bangladesh has become a safe haven for insurgent groups active in north-eastern Indian states.

Dhaka has repeatedly denied the allegations and says it has never allowed any Indian groups to operate from its territory.

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