AFSPA Extension: Arunachal Pradesh & Nagaland

Extension of AFSPA in Arunachal Pradesh and Nagaland - Image displaying the continuation of the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act in the regions of Arunachal Pradesh and Nagaland
AFSPA Extension: Arunachal Pradesh & Nagaland

The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has decided to extend the application of the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (AFSPA) in specific districts of Arunachal Pradesh and Nagaland for an additional six months, starting April 1, 2024. This extension follows a comprehensive review of the prevailing law and order situations in these northeastern states.

Arunachal Pradesh Extension:

The AFSPA will be enforced for the next six months in the following regions of Arunachal Pradesh:

  • Tirap, Changlang, and Longding districts.
  • The areas under the jurisdiction of Namsai, Mahadevpur, and Chowkham police stations in Namsai district, which share borders with Assam.

Nagaland Extension:

Similarly, in Nagaland, the AFSPA will continue to be in effect for the next six months in the following districts and police station areas:

  • Dimapur, Niuland, Chumukedima, Mon, Kiphire, Noklak, Phek, and Peren.
  • Additionally, 21 police station areas in five other districts of Nagaland, which collectively constitute 16 districts in total.

Powers Granted Under AFSPA:

The Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, 1958, bestows significant authority upon security forces operating in areas marked as "disturbed". Under this act, armed forces personnel are empowered to conduct search operations, make arrests, and even use firearms if deemed necessary for the maintenance of public order.

Reduction in AFSPA Application:

It's noteworthy that in April 2022, the Central Government made reductions in the number of areas designated as "disturbed" under AFSPA in various parts of Nagaland, Assam, and Manipur. Notably, AFSPA has been revoked from Tripura in 2015, Meghalaya in 2018, and Mizoram in the 1980s. However, it still remains in effect in Jammu and Kashmir.

Calls for Repeal:

Amidst these developments, there have been persistent demands from political parties, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and civil society groups in the northeastern region for the complete repeal of AFSPA. Critics assert that the Act has resulted in numerous human rights violations, while proponents argue its necessity for maintaining order in areas fraught with conflict.

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