AFSPA removed from Meghalaya, restricted in Arunachal Pradesh
NEW DELHI: The Union Home Ministry has removed Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (AFSPA) from Meghalaya and reduced it to eight police stations in Arunachal Pradesh, an official said on Monday.
“AFSPA was totally withdrawn from all areas of Meghalaya from April 1. In Arunachal, it is down from 16 police stations to eight,” the official said.
The Act has however been extended by another six months in three eastern districts of Arunachal Pradesh — Tirap, Longding and Changlang — which border Myanmar and specific areas under eight police stations of seven other districts bordering Assam. The three districts have been under the AFSPA since January 2016.
The Act was withdrawn from Tripura in 2015 and in past one year, fewer areas in northeast are under the Act, the official said, adding that the Act was only in place in Meghalaya for a 20-km area along the Assam border and not in operation in Mizoram.
In Assam, 63 NDFB(S) cadres killed and 1052 cadres/linkmen were arrested between December 2014 and March 2018. Compared to 2016 there has been a 37 percent fall in insurgency incidents in NE region; 30 percent reduction in forces killed; and 23 percent fall in civilians killed. Between 2014 and 2018, there has been a 63 percent decline in insurgency incidents in NE; 83% fall in civilian deaths; and 40 percent fall in security personnel killings.
Between peak of insurgency in 1997 and 2017, insurgency incidents in NE region has come down by 85 percent and fatal casualties among civilian and security forces have come down by 96 percent, the Home Ministry said.
AFSPA gives powers to the Army and central forces deployed in “disturbed areas” to kill anyone acting in contravention of law, arrest and search any premises without a warrant and provide cover to forces from prosecution and legal suits without the Central government’s sanction.
It is effective in the whole of Nagaland, Assam, Manipur (excluding seven Assembly constituencies of Imphal). The state governments of Assam and Manipur now have the powers to keep or revoke the Act.
(With inputs from agencies)