Guwahati, 5 February : The banned ULFA on Saturday announced unconditional peace talks with the Centre on 10 February in New Delhi to find an amicable solution to their 31-year-long armed struggle. Terming the first round of talks as a "courtesy call", senior ULFA leader Sasadhar Choudhury told reporters here that the outfit "would like Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to be present during the talks on Thursday as he represents Assam in Parliament".
Dhaka, 5 February : Ninety-five border guards were sentenced to jail terms for a maximum of seven years for revolting in Bangladesh's southeastern Rangamati district as part of the bloody 2009 mutiny that killed 57 army officers, including Major General Shakil Ahmed, the then chief of the paramilitary force. Special Court-15, headed by Col Zahedur Rahman, in separate verdicts sentenced ninety-five jawans of 9 and 18 rifles battalions of Bangladesh Border Guard (BGB) for jail terms ranging from four months to seven years for their involvement in mutiny in Rangamati. The Court also fined each of the convicts Taka 100. Seventy-four of the total 95 convicts were from the 9 Rifles Battalion while 21 were from the 18 Rifles Battalion, Star online reported today. The BGB men revolted against their officers at the battalion headquarters on 26 February, 2009, looted firearms from the armoury and attacked the residences of the then commander and other officers, the report said. Last week, the government was granted more time by the court to probe the bloody mutiny that killed 74 people as it fixed 3 March for indictment hearing against the "core suspects".
UNI, Guwahati, 5 February : A high-powered Bangladesh delegation, led by its Minister of Commerce Muhammad Faruk Khan, called on Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi at the latter's official chamber here today. The visiting Minister told the Chief Minister that Bangladesh was very keen on stepping up the volume of trade through the trade centres on the Indo-Bangla border and through the river ports.
'' The volume of trade can be increased to a great extent through the river ports. It is the cheapest mode of communication that will benefit both countries in a big way, '' he said. He urged the Chief Minister to take up the matter with the Union Government to remove the little impediments that stand in the way to pave the way for trade and commerce through river transport.
'' Assam will get access to Haldia in West Bengal and Chittagong and Mongla ports in Bangladesh and it will contribute to the economic growth of the State and the region as a whole, '' he said. Faruk apprised the Chief Minister of the steps initiated by the Bangladesh Government to strengthen infrastructure in terms of roads and ports that could be made good use of by the North Eastern States sharing borders with Bangladesh.
Shillong, 5 February : Bangladesh authorities Saturday handed over three more rebel leaders of the outlawed United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA) to Indian frontier guards at Dawki area in Meghalaya, an official said. ULFA ‘captain’ Upen Buragohain alias Antu Chaudang, ’second lieutenant’ Pradip Chetia and corporal Saurav were handed over to the Border Security Force (BSF) after they were long captured by Bangladesh security forces in that country. ‘The Bangladesh Border Guards have handed over the three ULFA rebels to us (BSF) this (Saturday) morning at Dawki and simultaneously we handed them over to Assam Police,’ the BSF official told IANS on condition of anonymity