- NET Web Desk
Amid the ongoing clamour on the repeal of Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) from different quarters of Northeastern (NE) regions, the Centre is planning to explore the possibility of partially lifting-up AFSPA from Nagaland & other Northeastern states.
This move has been undertaken after a late-night meeting of the Union minister of Home Affairs & Cooperation Amit Shah with the Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma & Nagaland Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio.
According to Indian Express report, Shah is believed to have directed Rio & others that if AFSPA were lifted partially, the state Police would have to initiate more responsibilities to maintain law and order along the northeastern state.
He is expected to brief PM Modi on the issue. However, the Centre will have to take finals calls on the matter before December 31, date on which the “Disturbed Areas” notification of AFSPA expires in Nagaland.
On June this year, the Centre had declared Nagaland as “Disturbed Area” and further extended the operation of the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, 1958 for 6 more months. The AFSPA has been in force in Nagaland for several decades.
Disturbed Areas (Special Courts) Act, 1976, asserts that once declared “disturbed”, the area has to maintain the status quo for a minimum of three months. Under this act, in a “disturbed” area, an officer has full power to warn, or open fire and other kinds of forces against the person who is acting against law.
Recently, the Nagaland Legislative Assembly (NLA) in its special session held today has unanimously passed a resolution, demanding the Centre to immediately repeal the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA), 1958 from the entire Northeast, and specifically from Nagaland. This move has been undertaken in order to strengthen the ongoing efforts for finding a peaceful political settlement to the Naga political issue.
The report further reads that government may lift the law from rural areas, but the same would continue along urban regions, as insurgent groups in large-scale are engaged with extortion & kidnapping.
However, a senior official asserted that centre might possibly continue the Act only across a 20-kms Indo-Myanmar border stretch.
According to a Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) senior official, “All central police forces were asked to convey their stand on the AFSPA and they have all said they do not want any changes in the deployment and want a status quo.”
Its worthy to note that on December 4 this year, at least 13 civilians identified as coal-miners were gunned down by security forces in Mon district of Nagaland.
The unfortunate incident is basically the repercussion of army operation, which mistook the civilians as insurgents from the Yung Aung faction of the banned militant outfit – National Socialist Council of Nagaland-Khaplang (NSCN-K).