Areas under AFSPA curtailed in 3 Northeastern states

FPJ BureauUpdated:Thursday, March 31, 2022, 11:44 PM IST
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Union Home Minister Amit Shah | ANI Photo

NEW DELHI: Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Thursday announced that the Central government has decided to scale down the Armed Forces (Special Power) Act in three north-eastern states -- Nagaland, Assam and Manipur.

This, in effect, means that AFSPA has been lifted in 23 Assam districts completely and in one district partially; the disturbed area notification has been also withdrawn in 15 police stations in six Manipur districts, and 15 police stations in seven districts of Nagaland.

Shah announced the long-awaited decision in three separate tweets, thereby reaching out to political parties and NGOs which have been demanding the repeal of AFSPA. The demand intensified after the security forces killed 14 people in Mon district of Nagaland in December last year.

Crediting the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi for the withdrawal, Shah said that the "improved security situation and fast-tracked development" due to the consistent efforts and several agreements to end insurgency and bring lasting peace in the North East has made it possible.

Congratulating the people of the region, he took a swipe at the governments that came before, saying the region was neglected for decades and is now "witnessing a new era of peace, prosperity and unprecedented development".

Thanking PM Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah for the decision, Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said that around 60% of the state's area will now be free from AFSPA's purview.

Almost all Chief Ministers of north-eastern states welcomed the announcement.

A home ministry spokesperson, however, clarified that the decision does not imply that the AFSPA has been completely withdrawn from the three insurgency-hit states but will continue to be in force in some areas.

The AFSPA empowers security forces to conduct operations and arrest anyone without any prior warrant besides giving immunity from arrest and prosecution to the security forces if they shoot someone dead.

The disturbed area notification was in force in entire Assam since 1990.

In the recently concluded assembly elections in Manipur, all parties had promised to address the demand for removing the controversial Act in the state.

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