Home official level talks between India-B'desh begins in Dhaka

Home official level talks between India-B'desh begins in Dhaka

"The joint working group meeting is expected to focus discussions on three major issues of frontier situation, cross-border security and on means to develop bilateral ties," said a Home Ministry official familiar with the process.

He said Home Ministry Joint Secretary Kamaluddin Ahmed leads an 11-member delegation at the joint working group meeting with a 10-member Indian delegation being led by Indian Home Office Joint Secretary Shambhu Singh.

Officials said the group was meeting to finalise "joint record of discussions" for the Secretary-level meeting, beginning tomorrow while Home Secretary Abdus Sobhan Shikdar and his counterpart Gopal K Pillai were expected to come up with a joint statement at the end of their talks on Thursday.

Pillai is expected to take up with Sikder the issue of early handing over ULFA general secretary Anup Chetia, who has completed his sentence in Bangladesh, to India so that he can participate in the proposed peace talks with the banned outfit. Chetia has been languishing in a Dhaka jail even since his arrest on December 21, 1997. ULFA chairman Arabinda Rajkhowa has also asked government to take steps for the early return of Chetia.

"Frontier shootouts resulting in deaths of frontier villagers are to dominate the talks today while we will convey our concerns on the matter to our counterparts," said a Bangladeshi official familiar with the meeting. The joint working group meeting starts two days after Indian High Commissioner in Dhaka Rajeet Mitter was summoned by the Foreign Ministry here to lodge a complaint against the killing of 15-year-old girl Falani allegedly by Border Security Force men earlier this month as she was trying to return home from India, where she was working.

A foreign office statement yesterday said the envoy assured it of conveying "the concern of the government of Bangladesh to the concerned Indian authorities" and "expressed the hope that both countries would be able to work out ways to prevent recurrence of such incidents in the future". The last Home Secretary level talks between the two countries were held in 2008 though the two top home ministry officials are supposed to meet every year alternatively at each other’s capital.