SC asks Centre to respond over disappearance of peace-negotiator from Assam

SC asks Centre to respond over disappearance of peace-negotiator from Assam

A view of the Supreme Court of India, in New Delhi. (pic for representation only)

The Supreme Court on Friday asked the Centre to respond to a habeas corpus petition filed by the son of a peace-negotiator from Assam who has been missing since April 22.

A bench of Justices L Nageswara Rao and Mohan M Shantanagoudar initially sought to know from senior advocate Geeta Luthra, appearing for petitioner Kaushik Phukan, as to why he did not approach the Gauhati High Court.

As the counsel submitted that the matter involved more than one state and it was suspected that central agencies may have detained him, the top court agreed to issue a notice to the Union government.

The court also asked the Assam government to continue its probe into the FIR lodged after Kaushik's father, Rebati Phukan, went missing. In his petition, Kaushik sought a CBI or SIT probe into the matter.

Rebati, a former footballer and businessman, was appointed as a member of the People’s Consultative Group formed by the United Liberation Front of Assam (Ulfa) in 2005 to mediate between the separatist outfit and the Centre.

“He has been missing since April 22 and despite the lodging of an FIR to trace his whereabouts, no proactive steps have been taken till date,” his petition claimed.

“It is suspected that he may be in the custody of the Intelligence Bureau, Research and Analysis Wing, Military Intelligence or National Investigation Agency as they (Ulfa) have a rivalry amongst them,” he apprehended.

Kaushik claimed his father has been assiduously working since 1990 to facilitate a peace dialogue between the Union government and Ulfa.

In 1997, the petitioner’s father played a major role in getting Anup Chetia, Ulfa general secretary, to India after he spent about 18 years in a jail in Bangladesh.

He cited a news report stating that his father was negotiating a fresh proposal for Paresh Baruah’s faction with the Centre with help from the interlocutor to the National Socialist Council of Nagaland (Isak-Muviah), R N Ravi.

The petitioner also sought security to a journalist, Aamir Hazarika, who had received an email that his father was being treated at a CRPF camp in Meghalaya.

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