Amit Shah announces reduction in disturbed areas under AFSPA in Nagaland, Assam, Manipur

Most of the political parties and NGOs have been demanding to repeal the AFSPA

Most of the political parties and NGOs have been demanding to repeal the AFSPA
Most of the political parties and NGOs have been demanding to repeal the AFSPA

Reduction in disturbed areas under AFSPA in Nagaland, Assam & Manipur is a decisive step in that direction: Amit Shah

Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Thursday announced that the Central government has decided to reduce the disturbed areas under Armed Forces (Special Power) Act, 1958 (AFSPA) in three northeastern states — Nagaland, Assam, and Manipur.

The Home Ministry spokesperson has clarified that the decision does not imply that the AFSPA has been completely repealed from these three states but will continue to be in force in some areas of the insurgency-afflicted states.

Most political parties and NGOs have been demanding to repeal the AFSPA. Taking on Twitter Shah announced: “In a significant step, GoI under the decisive leadership of PM Shri Narendra Modi Ji has decided to reduce disturbed areas under Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) in the states of Nagaland, Assam, and Manipur after decades.”

“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 Narendra Modi government,” he said.

In another tweet, the Home Minister said: “Thanks to PM Narendra Modi Ji’s unwavering commitment, our North-Eastern region, which was neglected for decades is now witnessing a new era of peace, prosperity, and unprecedented development. I congratulate the people of the North East on this momentous occasion.”

The Nagaland Assembly, in a special session in December last year, unanimously passed a resolution demanding the Centre to repeal the AFSPA from the entire northeast, and specifically from Nagaland, so as to strengthen the ongoing efforts to find a peaceful political settlement to the Naga political issue.

Manipur Chief Minister N Biren Singh, his Tripura counterpart Biplab Kumar Deb, and Nagaland counterpart Neiphiu Rio first welcomed the Center’s announcement.

The AFSPA has been in place for decades in the three Northeastern states empowering security forces to conduct operations and arrest anyone without any prior warrant. It also gives immunity from arrest and prosecution to the security forces if they shoot someone dead.

In 2015, AFSPA was withdrawn from Tripura. The AFSPA was also lifted from the bordering areas of Meghalaya in 2018.

In the recently concluded Assembly elections in Manipur, all parties had promised to address the demand of removing the controversial act from the state. Biren Singh, who returned as Manipur Chief Minister for the second term, fought the state elections with a measured promise to do something about AFSPA. Though he said he would work to remove AFSPA, he preferred a “balanced approach” that takes care of the ground reality.

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