The Centre has considerably reduced the “disturbed areas” under the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (AFSPA) in the States of Assam, Manipur and Nagaland, Union Home Minister Amit Shah announced on Thursday.
“In a significant step, GoI under the decisive leadership of PM Shri @NarendraModi Ji has decided to reduce disturbed areas under Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) in the States of Nagaland, Assam and Manipur after decades,” Mr. Shah said in a tweet.
He added, “Reduction in areas under AFSPA is a result of the improved security situation and fast-tracked development due to the consistent efforts and several agreements to end insurgency and bring lasting peace in North East by PM @narendramodi government.”
“The areas under AFSPA has been considerably reduced in these three States; it has not been completely removed,” said a Home Ministry official.
In Nagaland, the AFSPA is being removed from the jurisdiction of 15 police stations in seven districts.
“The Disturbed Area Notification is in force in the whole of Nagaland from 1995. The Central government has accepted the recommendation of a committee constituted in this context for withdrawal of the AFSPA in a phased manner,” the Ministry said.
In Assam, the AFSPA is being removed completely from 23 districts and one district will be covered partially under the Act.
In Manipur, 15 police station areas of six districts of Manipur will be excluded from the Disturbed Area Notification, said the Ministry. All changes will be effective April 1.
The Ministry constituted a committee on December 26 last year to study if the AFSPA could be withdrawn from some areas in Nagaland in the wake of growing civilian anger against a botched ambush by an elite armed forces unit that led to the killing of 13 civilians at Oting in Nagaland’s Mon district on December 4.
The law first came into effect in 1958 to deal with the uprising in the Naga Hills, followed by insurgency in Assam. The AFSPA gives unbridled power to the armed forces and the Central Armed Police Forces deployed in “disturbed areas” to kill anyone acting in contravention of law, arrest and search any premises without a warrant and protection from prosecution and legal suits without the Central government’s sanction.
Currently, the Union Home Ministry issues periodic “disturbed area” notification to extend the AFSPA only for Nagaland and Arunachal Pradesh, where it is applicable in the districts of Tirap, Changlang, Longding and areas falling under Namsai and Mahadevpur police stations bordering Assam.
The notification for Manipur and Assam is issued by the State governments. Tripura revoked the Act in 2015 and Meghalaya was under the AFSPA for 27 years, until it was revoked by the Ministry from April 1, 2018. The Act was implemented in a 20-km area along the border with Assam. Jammu and Kashmir has a separate J&K Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, 1990.
Source: The Hindu