New Delhi/Guwahati, March 31: Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Thursday announced that the central government has decided to reduce the disturbed areas under Armed Forces (Special Power) Act, 1958 (AFSPA) in three northeastern states — Nagaland, Assam, and Manipur.
Shah announced the much-expected decision in three separate tweets when most of the political parties and NGOs have been demanding to repeal the AFSPA and the demand intensified after the security forces killed 14 people and injured 30 others in Mon district of Nagaland on December 4 and 5 last year.
Taking on Twitter Shah announced: “In a significant step, GoI under the decisive leadership of PM Narendra Modi Ji has decided to reduce disturbed areas under Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) in the states of Nagaland, Assam, and Manipur after decades.”
“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 North East by PM Narendra Modi government,” he said.
In another tweet, the Home Minister said: “Thanks to PM Narendra Modi Ji’s unwavering commitment, our North-Eastern region, which was neglected for decades is now witnessing a new era of peace, prosperity, and unprecedented development. I congratulate the people of the North East on this momentous occasion.
Manipur Chief Minister N. Biren Singh, his Tripura counterpart Biplab Kumar Deb, and Nagaland counterpart Neiphiu Rio first welcomed the Center’s announcement.
Singh tweeted: “Mananiya Pradhan Mantri Shri Narendra Modi Ji ko Koti Koti Naman. Considering the sentiment of the people of Manipur, Assam, and Nagaland, the Hon’ble PM Shri Narendra Modi Ji has decided to reduce disturbed areas under Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA).”
Deb, in his tweet, said: “I welcome the step of reducing the disturbed areas under AFSPA for Assam, Nagaland, and Manipur. This will ensure the further development of the North East.
“The AFSPA, which allows the Army and other central para-military forces to conduct raids, operations, arrest anyone anywhere without prior notice or arrest warrant, is in force in Nagaland, Assam, Manipur barring the Imphal municipal council area and certain districts of Arunachal Pradesh.
Rio in his tweet said: “Grateful to GoI under the leadership of Shri Narendra Modi Ji & Amit Shah Ji for reducing disturbed areas under AFSPA in the states of Nagaland, Assam & Manipur. This is a significant development towards bringing stability, security & prosperity to the North East region.”
Tripura is the only state in the northeastern region where AFSPA was withdrawn in May 2015 by the then Left Front government led by Chief Minister Manik Sarkar after terror activities were tamed.
The AFSPA was also lifted from the bordering areas of Meghalaya in 2018.
The Union Home Ministry from time to time, reviewing the security situation, extends the period of AFSPA from six months to one year.
The Nagaland Assembly, in a special session in December last year, unanimously passed a resolution demanding the Centre to repeal the AFSPA from the entire northeast, and specifically from Nagaland, to strengthen the ongoing efforts to find a peaceful political settlement to the Naga political issue.