Friday, June 24, 2005

BANGLADESH: No abatement of India's non-military warfare

On June 3 the PTI, the Indian state-run news agency, circulated a report at a news conference in Shillong by the BSF Inspector General of Assam, Meghalaya, Manipur and Nagaland, SC Srivastava. The agency quoted him as claiming that the rebel United Liberation Front of Assam is running seven international standard hotels in Bangladesh, and also operating accounts in two private banks in Bangladesh, to fund its insurgent activities in northeast India. It was a new type of pinpointed accusation after a previous list was given by the Indian BSF to the Bangladesh Rifles about the existence of 195 Indian rebel camps in Bangladesh for arms training in different parts of the country including Dhaka city. Most of the places mentioned in the list on investigation turned out to be in densely populated areas and open to public access including government offices and semi-government properties, and all the allegations proved to be false. On the publication of the PTI news about alleged ULFA hotel operations and bank accounts in Bangladesh, there was a prompt government investigation and a denial was issued by the Foreign Ministry of Bangladesh, calling the allegations baseless and unfortunate, as it came at a time when Bangladesh was taking strong action against border-crossing Indians with suspect connections located in Bangladesh. Several newspapers of Bangladesh sent their own investigative reporters to independently probe the alleged ULFA activities in Bangladesh. Here is what they found.