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Dhaka launches drive against terrorists

By Haroon Habib

DHAKA Jan. 3. Bangladesh has intensified the drive to weed out terrorists irrespective of their nationality. The operations at sensitive border points had started amidst New Delhi's reported persuasion to clip the wings of Indian separatists, allegedly operating from Bangladesh territory.

The Bangladesh Government, however, said the drive was only part of the country's ongoing operation against armed terrorists, and not due to India's persuasion. Reports suggest that the drive in Sylhet, Bandarban and Cox's Bazar have also been stepped up .

Sources in the Government sources said the six Indians, arrested in Habiganj on Thursday with arms and allegedly members of a rebel group in Tripura, would be charged under the Foreigners Act. The State Minister for Home, Lutfuzzaman Babar, dismissing reports that the latest operation had been launched at the request of India, said: ``The drive is part of the Government's own regular anti-crime operation. Bangladesh is always in favour of controlling any sort of violence and insurgency, whether it is done by an individual or a gang or by foreign insurgents,'' the Minister told BBC Bangla service on Friday . `It is not for the first time that such an operation has been launched. A few days ago an operation was launched at Moulavibazar and several terrorists were held. Terrorists have been captured in Bandarban and Hill Tracts and Cox's Bazar as well. It is not a matter of request; it is the stand of the Government to flush out terrorists.''

``If Indian insurgents are held during this operation they will be tried according to the law of the land.'' He rejected India's allegation that the northeastern insurgent groups had set up camps in the country. ``Indian insurgents have no camps in Bangladesh. We will not allow anyone to carry out terrorist activity from our territory.''

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