Centre Withdraws AFSPA From Meghalaya And Some Part Of Arunachal

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New Delhi: The government has withdrawn the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) totally from Meghalaya as well as from eight out of 16 police stations in Arunachal Pradesh with effect from March 31, 2018. The decision has been taken in the wake of insurgency-related incidents in the northeast region going down by 85 per cent from the levels recorded at the peak of militancy two decades ago.
AFSPA, which gives special powers and immunity to the armed forces deployed in areas declared “disturbed” under the Act, had been in force in Meghalaya and Arunachal Pradesh for almost 27 years.
A Union home ministry official said that areas of the two states bordering Assam were declared “disturbed” in 1991 to avoid a spillover effect of insurgency by Assam-based outfits like the United Liberation Front of Asom (Ulfa).

In 2015, the Tripura government had lifted AFSPA from the state after 18 years. Until September 30, 2017, all areas falling within a 20-km belt in Meghalaya bordering Assam were notified as “disturbed” areas. Effective from October 1, 2017, this was reduced to a 10-km belt.
However, on March 31, 2018, it was decided that given the improved situation, AFSPA need no longer be in force even in this 10-km stretch.
The Armed Forces Special Powers Act will now be in force in the whole of Assam and Nagaland, all of Manipur (except Imphal municipal area) and in three districts and eight police station areas of Arunachal Pradesh. Nagaland has been under AFSPA for almost six decades. Other than the northeast, AFSPA is applicable in J&K.
Sources said the review of ‘disturbed’ areas list under AFSPA is part of a larger process to curtail the area of enforcement of the law — seen by many as draconian — in the northeast, given the improved security situation.
With insurgency levels in Assam too at a record low, the state government is expected to decide soon on withdrawal of AFSPA from some districts.

 

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