The government of India has decided to reduce disturbed areas under Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) in the states of Nagaland, Assam and Manipur after decades.
The Act provides special powers to the armed forces to maintain public order in “disturbed areas”, though it has been widely criticised for its alleged misuse several times.
The current decision of the Centre comes two months after Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma had said that some positive development regarding Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act is expected during the year.
Union Home Minister Amit Shah said the 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 Modi.
He said the north-eastern region under PM Modi, which was neglected for decades, is now witnessing a ‘new era of peace, prosperity and unprecedented development’. He also congratulated the people of North East for this.
The AFSPA was imposed in Assam in November 1990 and has been extended every six months since then after a review by the state government. The demand for repeal of AFSPA from the northeast came to the fore in December last year after 13 civilians were gunned down by the Army in a botched anti-insurgency operation in Nagaland and another person was killed in subsequent violence.