Nagaland : AFSPA Extended For Another 6 Months Amid Protest To Repeal After Botched Army Operation; ‘Disturbed’ & ‘Dangerous’ Are The Catchwords Of MHA For The State

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Amid the escalating clamour to repeal the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA), 1958 from different quarters of Northeastern regions, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has extended the ‘controversial law’ for another 6 months, referring the entire state as “disturbed area”.

“Whereas, the Central Government is of the opinion that the area comprising the whole of the state of Nagaland is in such a disturbed and dangerous condition that the use of armed forces in aid of the civil power is necessary.” – asserted a home ministry notification.

“Now, therefore, in exercise of the powers conferred by Section 3 of the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, 1958 (No.28 of 1958) the Central Government hereby declares that whole of the State of Nagaland to be ‘disturbed area’ for a period of six months with effect from 30th December, 2021 for the purpose of the said Act,” – the notification further reads.

Recently, the MHA has constituted a 5-member committee headed by Registrar General of India Dr. Vivek Joshi for examining the possibility of withdrawing the concerned Act from Nagaland.

In order to review AFSPA 1958 across the northeastern state of Nagaland, a committee of officers is constituted with following members – Dr. Vivek Joshi, Registrar General & CCI will act as the Chairman. The members include – J. Alam, Chief Secretary, Nagaland; Lt. Gen P.C. Nair, Director General (DG) of Assam Rifles; T. John Longkumer, Director General of Police (DGP) Nagaland; Dr. M.S. Tuli, JD, IB; Piyush Goyal, Ministry of Home Affairs as Member Secretary.

However, Lt. Gen. B.S. Raju, DGMO shall act as the Special Invitee to the Committee. The terms of reference of the Committee shall be to review the application of AFSPA in Nagaland and make suitable recommendations within a period of 3 months.

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, which was about to end on December 31. 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.

The demand for AFSPA repeal renewed back after the tragic incident of December 4, when innocent civilians identified as coal-miners were gunned down by security forces in Mon district of Nagaland.

The unfortunate incident is basically the repercussion of botched 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).

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