The Central government has extended for another six more months the application of the "disturbed area" under the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act 1958 -- known as AFSPA -- in parts of Nagaland and Arunachal Pradesh, officials said on Saturday.
With the improvement in the security situation in the northeast, in a historic move, the Central government from April 2022 reduced disturbed areas under AFSPA in Nagaland, Assam and Manipur, and again from April 1, this year.
Disturbed areas in these three states are being further reduced, an official statement said.
Quoting the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), officials in Kohima said that the decision had been taken after review of the law-and-order situation in both the bordering northeastern states.
In a notification, the MHA under the AFSPA had declared nine districts and 16 police stations in four other districts of Nagaland as 'disturbed areas' for a period of six months.
In another notification, the Home Ministry declared Tirap, Changlang and Longding districts in Arunachal Pradesh and the areas falling within the jurisdiction of Namsai and Mahadevpur police stations in Namsai district of Arunachal Pradesh, bordering the state of Assam as 'disturbed areas'.
An official statement quoting Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Saturday said that the decision has been taken about further reduction of the AFSPA from more areas of the northeast in view of the significant improvement in the security situation in the region.
"Prioritising the security, peace and development of the northeast was done for the first time under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, as a result of it, the region today is rapidly heading on the path of peace and development," the statement said.
The Disturbed Areas Notification is in force since 1990 in the whole of Assam.
The statement said that as a result of significant improvement in the security situation due to the untiring efforts of the Modi government, the disturbed areas under AFSPA were removed with effect from April 1 last year from the entire state of Assam except 9 districts and one sub-division of another district, and from April 1 (2023) it has been reduced to only 8 districts.
Disturbed area declaration under AFSPA in Manipur (except Imphal Municipality area) has been in operation since 2004.
In Manipur, 15 police station areas of 6 districts were taken out of the disturbed area from April 1 last year, and now from April 1 (2023) the disturbed area is being withdrawn from 4 other police stations.
Thus, 19 police stations in 7 districts of Manipur have been removed from the disturbed area notification under AFSPA.The Disturbed Areas Notification was applicable in the whole of Nagaland from 1995.
Following the recommendation of the committee constituted in this context to remove AFSPA in a phased manner, the disturbed area notification was withdrawn from 15 police stations of 7 districts with effect from April 1 last year.
The AFSPA is further being withdrawn from 3 other police stations with effect from April 1 (2023). Thus, a total of 18 police stations in 8 districts of Nagaland are being removed from the disturbed area notification under AFSPA.
Union Home Minister Amit Shah on March 31 last year announced the reduction of the operation of AFSPA from April 1 in large parts of Assam, Nagaland and Manipur, even as most of the political parties and NGOs in the region have been demanding its complete repeal.
The demand intensified after the security forces killed 14 people and injured 30 others in Mon district of Nagaland in December 2021 in a case of "mistaken identity".
The AFSPA, which allows the Army and other central para-military forces to conduct raids and operations, and arrest anyone anywhere without prior notice or arrest warrant, was in force in Nagaland, Assam, Manipur barring the Imphal municipal council area and certain districts of Arunachal Pradesh.
It was lifted from Tripura in 2015, in Meghalaya in 2018, and in Mizoram in the 1980s.
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