Assam extended the existing disturbed area status for another six months from August 28 under the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) in the parts of Assam.
Government in an official statement “The Government of Assam in the exercise of powers conferred by Section 3 of the AFSPA, 1958 has declared the entire State of Assam as “Disturbed Area” up to six months with effect from 28-08-2021 unless withdrawn earlier,” However the government in the press release did not mention any particular reason for the decision.
The AFSPA has first imposed in Assam’s disturbed area in November 1990 and since then it has been extended every six months after a review by the state government.
In 1990, AFSPA came into force in Assam’s disturbed areas due to the increase in Kidnapping , extortion, and insurgency activities that killed many people. Security forces conducted major operations against the groups in those days to neutralize the rebel outfit.
In the Northeast, the AFSPA is enforced in the state of Assam, Nagaland, Manipur (excluding Imphal Municipal Council Area), Changlang, Longding, and Tirap districts of Arunachal Pradesh, the AFSPA also covers the areas falling within the jurisdiction of the eight police stations of districts in Arunachal Pradesh bordering Assam.
In the north-eastern states, the AFSPA was imposed to reduce insurgency Kidnapping and extortion. AFSPA allows the armed forces to maintain Law and order in “disturbed areas”. The armed forces can also restrict the gathering of five or more persons in an area. They can warn a person for breaking a law and open fire or use force in case of non-compliance.
Civil society groups and rights activists in the region have been demanding the withdrawal of the AFSPA.
Author: Nileswar Roy