NEW DELHI — The Centre has decided to remove the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) from certain districts in Nagaland, Assam and Manipur.
The decision comes in the backdrop of vociferous demands from various states in the Northeast to remove AFSPA, following the killing of over a dozen civilians in Mon district of Nagaland last year.
“In a significant step, GoI under the decisive leadership of PM Shri @NarendraModi Ji has decided to reduce disturbed areas under Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) in the states of Nagaland, Assam and Manipur after decades,” Home Minister of India Amit Shah said in a tweet.
Shah said that 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 the Northeast under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.”
“Thanks to PM Modi’s unwavering commitment, our northeastern region, which was neglected for decades, is now witnessing a new era of peace, prosperity and unprecedented development. I congratulate the people of Northeast on this momentous occasion,” he added.
A report by The Indian Express, quoting sources in the Ministry of Home Affairs India, said the withdrawal will come into effect beginning April 1.
According to a PIB release, in Assam, where AFSPA has been in force since 1990, the ‘Disturbed Area’ tag will be removed completely from 23 districts and partially from one district.
In Manipur, where civil society organisations and activists have long fought for the law’s repeal, 15 police station areas of six districts will be excluded from the purview of the Act.
In Nagaland, the Centre has accepted the recommendation of a high-level committee formed in the aftermath of Mon killing to withdraw AFSPA in a phased manner, said the release. Therefore, the Disturbed Area Notification is being withdrawn from 15 police stations in seven districts in Nagaland with effect from April 1.