Bangladesh-India sign extradition and visa deals

The governments of Bangladesh and India on Monday signed the long-awaited extradition treaty to facilitate handover of criminals between the two countries. A revised travel arrangement (RTA) was also signed by the governments with a view to easing the visa process for the people of the two countries.
Bangladeshi home minister Dr Mohiuddin Khan Alamgir and his Indian counterpart, Sushilkumar Shinde, signed the documents for the respective governments at the Ruposhi Bangla Hotel in the capital after bilateral talks. The draft of the extradition treaty was approved by the Bangladesh cabinet earlier at Monday’s regular cabinet meeting. The Indian cabinet also approved the treaty on January 24.
Talking to journalists after the signing of the documents, Dr Mohiuddin Khan Alamgir, however, said the United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA) leader, Anup Chetia, would not be extradited under the extradition treaty.
“Bangladesh will benefit more than India from the signing of the treaty,” the home minister said, adding, “It will also help Bangladesh extradite some fugitives, including two killers of Bangabadhu, Capt. (dismissed) Mazed and Risalder (dismissed) Muslehuddin, from India.”
Dr Kamal Uddin Ahmed, additional secretary in the home ministry, said the ULFA leader has filed a writ petition before the court seeking political asylum in Bangladesh and the matter is now under the jurisdiction of the Bangladesh Supreme Court.
Replying to a question on the killing of Bangladeshi citizens by the Border Security Force (BSF) of India, Shinde said they have already ordered the BSF not to use gun bullets against the people in the bordering areas of the neighbours. “We will also look into the matter further so that border killings are stopped,” he promised.
Bangabandhu’s killers will be handed over, if found, said Shinde.
In reply to another question on the delay in ratifying the land boundary agreement signed in 1974 by the Indian parliament, the Indian home minister said the ratification process is under way. “We are hoping that the agreement will be ratified as soon as possible,” he added.
“Both the home ministers expressed their satisfaction over signing of the extradition treaty and revised travel
arrangement (RTA) between the two countries. The extradition treaty will help to increase cooperation among law enforcing agencies of the countries and to curb criminal activities,” stated the joint statement issued after the home ministers’ meeting.
“Indian home minister conveyed the appreciation of government of India to Bangladesh government for extending cooperation for addressing the security concerns of India, particularly in dealing with the Indian insurgent groups. Both sides reiterated their commitment to act against the elements inimical to both countries,” the statement added.
The joint statement said, “Both the sides expressed confidence that increased number of coordinated patrols under the coordinated border management plan (CBMP) would enhance cooperation between the border forces guarding the two countries and enable them to manage the identified vulnerable areas with a view to preventing criminal activities, illegal movement, acts of violence and loss of lives along the border areas.”
“Both the sides noted that the implementation of three agreements — mutual legal assistance in criminal matters, agreement on transfer of sentenced persons and combating terrorism, organized crime and illicit drug trafficking, signed during the visit of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to India in 2010 — has been satisfactory,” the statement added.
The revised travel arrangement allows a Bangladesh citizen, who visits India as a businessman, to be given five-year multiple entry visa and those who want to travel for medical treatment will get two-year multiple entry visa, which is extendable for another year. Visas will be given to three medical attendants of a patient. Bangladeshi tourists will be given one-year multiple visas instead of for 30 days, the Indian home minister said.
Bangladeshi journalists will also get one-year multiple visa facilities after completing the necessary official formalities under the new arrangement, the Indian home minister added.
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