NEW DELHI: The Centre has decided to reduce the disturbed areas under the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) in Nagaland, Assam and Manipur after decades.
A statement issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs noted that the disturbed area notification is in force in the whole of Assam since 1990. However, due to the significant improvement in the situation now AFSPA is being removed completely from 23 districts and partially from 1 district of Assam with effect from April 1.
Similarly, the disturbed area declaration is in force in the entire Manipur (except Imphal Municipality area) since 2004. Now, taking an important step, 15 police station areas of 6 districts of Manipur will be excluded from the notification with effect from April 1.
The disturbed area notification is in force in the whole of Nagaland since 1995. The Centre has accepted the recommendation of a committee constituted in this context for withdrawal of AFSPA in a phased manner. The disturbed area notification is being withdrawn from 15 police stations in 7 districts in Nagaland with effect from April 1, the statement said.
Further, in 2015, AFSPA was in force in 3 districts of Arunachal Pradesh, 20 kms belt of Arunachal Pradesh along the Assam border and in 16 police station areas in 9 other districts of the State. This has been gradually reduced and the notification of the disturbed area is currently applicable in only 3 districts and in 2 police station areas in 1 other district of Arunachal Pradesh.
The statement claimed that following dialogue held with all the states of the North-East by union home minister Amit Shah, most of the extremist groups have laid down their arms expressing their faith in the Constitution of India and the policies of the Modi government. Today all these
persons have become a part of the democratic process and are participating in the peace and development of the North East. About 7,000 militants have surrendered in the last few years.
"The consistent efforts of the Government under the visionary leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and improvement in the security situation in the Northeast has resulted in a significant step by the Government of India to reduce the disturbed areas under Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) in Nagaland, Assam and Manipur after decades," the statement noted.
Further, it added, "The Centre in the last three years has signed several agreements to end insurgencies and bring lasting peace to the North Eastern States. For example, the Bodo Accord of January, 2020 which resolved the five decades-long Bodo problems of Assam and the Karbi-Anglong Agreement of September 4, 2021, which resolved the long standing dispute over the Karbi region of Assam. Similarly, the NLFT (SD) agreement was signed in August 2019 to bring militants into the mainstream of society in Tripura. After that a historic agreement was signed on January 16, 2020 to resolve the 23-year-old Bru-Reang refugee crisis, under which 37,000 internally displaced persons are being resettled in Tripura. On March 29, 2022, another important agreement was signed regarding the boundaries of Assam and Meghalaya."