On Thursday, the center extended the imposition of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) in Nagaland by six months. The Centre had instituted a high-level committee chaired by a secretary-level officer to examine the possibility of withdrawing the Act from Nagaland. The committee will submit its report in 45 days.
According to officials, Registrar General and Census Commissioner of India, Vivek Joshi, will head the five-member committee, and Additional Secretary to the Union Home Ministry, Piyush Goyal, will be its Member-Secretary. The Chief Secretary and Director General of Police of Nagaland and the DGP of Assam Rifles will be the other members of the committee, they added.
This comes at a time when there has been an uproar in the state following the death of 13 civilians, 6 of whom were killed in a botched-up operation in Mon district on December 4 by the Indian Army. The incident caused a massive public outcry and the Nagaland Assembly passed a resolution demanding the repeal of AFSPA.
“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. Now, therefore, in the 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 a “disturbed area” for a period of six months with effect from 30th December 2021 for the purpose of the said Act,” a gazette notification issued by the Union Ministry of Home Affairs read.
The imposition of the law was due to expire on December 31. AFSPA can be imposed in an area or a region only for six months at once and is extended if the government deems it necessary.
AFSPA is imposed or lifted from a region following due consultation with the state government, the Armed forces and the central agencies. In March 2018, the Union Ministry of Home Affairs had ordered the removal of AFSPA from Meghalaya. In Arunachal Pradesh, too, the law was revoked from several police stations between 2018 and 2019. Currently, in Arunachal, only three districts and four police stations that border Assam are under AFSPA.
Source: The Economic Times, The Indian Express