MHA extends AFSPA in Nagaland, Arunachal for 6 more months

MHA extends AFSPA in Nagaland, Arunachal for 6 more months

The Central government has extended for another six more months the application of the “disturbed area” under the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act 1958 – known as AFSPA – in parts of Nagaland and Arunachal Pradesh, officials said.

With the improvement in the security situation in the northeast, in a historic move, the Central government from April 2022 reduced disturbed areas under AFSPA in Nagaland, Assam and Manipur, and again from April 1, this year.

Quoting the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), officials in Kohima said that the decision had been taken after review of the law-and-order situation in both the bordering northeastern states.

In a notification, the MHA under the AFSPA had declared nine districts and 16 police stations in four other districts of Nagaland as ‘disturbed areas’ for a period of six months.

In another notification, the Home Ministry declared Tirap, Changlang and Longding districts in Arunachal Pradesh and the areas falling within the jurisdiction of Namsai and Mahadevpur police stations in Namsai district of Arunachal Pradesh, bordering the state of Assam as ‘disturbed areas’.

The Disturbed Areas Notification is in force since 1990 in the whole of Assam. Disturbed area declaration under AFSPA in Manipur (except Imphal Municipality area) has been in operation since 2004.

In Manipur, 15 police station areas of 6 districts were taken out of the disturbed area from April 1 last year, and now from April 1 (2023) the disturbed area is being withdrawn from 4 other police stations. Thus, 19 police stations in 7 districts of Manipur have been removed from the disturbed area notification under AFSPA. The Disturbed Areas Notification was applicable in the whole of Nagaland from 1995.

Following the recommendation of the committee constituted in this context to remove AFSPA in a phased manner, the disturbed area notification was withdrawn from 15 police stations of 7 districts with effect from April 1 last year.

The AFSPA is further being withdrawn from 3 other police stations with effect from April 1 (2023). Thus, a total of 18 police stations in 8 districts of Nagaland are being removed from the disturbed area notification under AFSPA.

The AFSPA, which allows the Army and other central para-military forces to conduct raids and operations, and arrest anyone anywhere without prior notice or arrest warrant, was in force in Nagaland, Assam, Manipur barring the Imphal municipal council area and certain districts of Arunachal Pradesh. It was lifted from Tripura in 2015, in Meghalaya in 2018, and in Mizoram in the 1980s.