In a major campaign in the Northeast, Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Thursday announced that after decades, turbulent areas imposed under the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (AFSPA) in Nagaland, Assam and Manipur would be reduced from April 1.
A Home Ministry spokesman, however, said the decision did not mean that AFSPA had been completely withdrawn from the three rebel-held states, but that it would remain in effect in some parts of the three states.
The decision has been welcomed by the chief ministers of several states, including Assam, where the notification of troubled areas has been in force since 1990.
Assam Chief Minister Himanta Bishwa Sharma welcomed the decision and thanked Home Minister Amit Shah. “I fully welcome the decision of the Prime Minister of Adornia Shri ndranarendramodi to withdraw AFSPA from all areas of Assam except 9 districts and 1 subdivision. I would also like to express my gratitude to HM Shri Amit Shah GK for this great initiative. About 60% of the state will now be free from AFSPA, ”he said.
“AFSPA has been in force since 1990 and this initiative marks the beginning of a new chapter in the future of Assam. This is a testament to the significant improvement in law and order in the state. With peace prevailing, the Northeast is now on a new path of growth and development, ”he added.
I sincerely welcome the Prime Minister of Adornia narendramodi G’s decision to withdraw AFSPA from all areas of Assam except 9 districts and 1 sub-division. I also express my gratitude to HM Shri Amit Shah G. for this great step. About 60% of the state will now be exempt from AFSPA. 1/38 Himanta Bishwa Sharma (@Himantabisba) March 31, 2022
Assam, Sarma said, excluding nine districts and one subdivision would completely withdraw AFSPA from midnight on Thursday.
“Assam will withdraw AFSPA completely from midnight today, except for nine districts and one subdivision. It will be withdrawn from 60% of our territory. The AFSPA will be withdrawn from Lower, Central and North Assam from midnight today, ”he said.
Also read: AFSPA: Remains of the British era with unbridled power; Here’s a complete low-down
Due to the significant improvement in the situation, AFSPA is being withdrawn completely from 23 districts from April 1 and partially from one district in Assam.
The whole of Manipur (excluding Imphal municipality area) has been declared a disrupted area since 2004. With Thursday’s decision, 15 police station areas in six districts of Manipur will be excluded from the notification of effective disrupted areas from April 1.
Speaking to CNN-News18, Manipur Chief Minister N Biren Singh said, “I am proud to be in the BJP. This (decision) was a long standing demand which has been met. I am grateful to Amit Shah and Prime Minister Modi. “
Manania Prime Minister Shri narendramodi G. K. Koti Koti Naman. Hon’ble Prime Minister Shri. narendramodi The G Armed Forces has decided to reduce the troubled area under the Special Powers Act (AFSPA) pic.twitter.com/mPZIzEV0Pb
– N.Biren Singh (NBirenSingh) March 31, 2022
In an interview with CNN-News18 three days ago, Biren Singh spoke of the central government’s plans to remove the controversial AFSPA from the state.
Nagaland Chief Minister Nifiu Rio said the move would help bring “stability, security and prosperity to the Northeast”.
I am grateful to the Government of India for its leadership @PMOIndia Mr. narendramodi G and Amit Shah In order to reduce turbulent areas under AFSPA in the states of Nagaland, Assam and Manipur. This is a significant step forward in bringing stability, security and prosperity to the Northeast March 31, 2022
The move comes three months after the central government formed a high-level committee to examine the possibility of lifting the AFSPA in Nagaland, where 14 civilians were killed by the army in December 2021 in a case of “misidentification”.
Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad Sangma called the move “a right move” and thanked the Prime Minister and Home Minister for respecting the sentiments of the people of the North East. “I would like to thank the Prime Minister and the Hon’ble HM for taking the right step and for keeping the sentiments of the people of the Northeast in mind. This is another example of the concern shown by the Prime Minister and the Hon’ble HM to the people of the North East, “he said.
Asked if the decision would help the BJP in the elections, Sangma said, “It’s not about elections, it’s about doing the right thing … and that’s the right thing to do.”
In 2015, AFSPA was effective in 3 districts of Arunachal Pradesh, 20 km belt of Arunachal Pradesh bordering Assam and 16 police station areas in 9 other districts of the state. It has been gradually reduced and notification of turbulent area, currently applicable in only 3 districts and 2 thana areas in 1 other district of Arunachal Pradesh.
Notified areas of unrest have been in effect throughout Nagaland since 1995. The Central Government has accepted the recommendation of the committee constituted in this regard for the phased withdrawal of AFSPA. Notifications of troubled areas are being withdrawn from 15 police stations in 7 districts of Nagaland from April 1.
In a series of tweets on Thursday, Amit Shah said: “In a significant step, the GoI (Government of India) under the decisive leadership of Prime Minister Shri ndraNarendraModi Ji has decided to reduce the troubled areas under the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA). Decades after decades, the states of Nagaland, Assam and Manipur. ”The Home Minister said that the degradation of areas under AFSPA was the result of continuous efforts to end the insurgency and bring lasting peace and improved security situation and rapid track development due to several agreements.
“Thanks to the unwavering commitment of Prime Minister areNarendraModi G, our northeastern region, which has been neglected for decades, is now witnessing a new era of peace, prosperity and unprecedented development. I congratulate the people of the Northeast on this important occasion, “he said.
The AFSPA has been in force for decades in three northeastern states to assist the armed forces in countering the insurgency.
The AFSPA empowers the security forces to conduct operations and arrest anyone without prior warrant, and gives the security forces immunity from arrest and prosecution if they shoot someone. There have been protests and demands for the complete withdrawal of the law from the Northeast as well as Jammu and Kashmir for the so-called “strict” provisions.
Manipuri activist Iram Chanu Sharmila has been fighting the law for 16 years, before ending it on August 9, 2016. The notification of turbulent areas under AFSPA was completely removed from Tripura in 2015 and Meghalaya in 2018.
The killing of 14 civilians has sparked tensions in Nagaland, where people have been protesting for weeks over the withdrawal of AFSPA. Ahead of the recently concluded assembly elections, Manipur Chief Minister N Biren Singh said that he and the people of Manipur wanted to withdraw AFSPA but the security agencies had to look into the issue of national security.
A Home Ministry spokesman said the incidence of militancy in the Northeast had dropped by 74 percent in 2021 compared to 2014. Similarly, deaths of security personnel and civilians also decreased by 60 percent and 84 percent during this period, respectively.
“To realize the vision of a peaceful and prosperous Northeast Prime Minister, the Home Minister has been in constant dialogue with all the states in the region,” he said. As a result, most extremist groups have laid down their arms, expressing confidence in their constitution and the policies of the Modi government. Today, all these individuals have become part of the democratic process and are contributing to peace and development in the Northeast. About 7,000 militants have surrendered in the last few years, “the spokesman said.
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