Congress opposes additional powers to Assam Rifles in NE

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Guwahati, Feb 22 (IANS) The opposition Congress Legislature Party (CLP) on Friday moved an adjournment motion in the Assam Assembly over the Centre’s move to bestow additional powers on the Assam Rifles, and resorted to a walkout when the Speaker disallowed it on procedural grounds.

The Leader of Opposition in the Assembly, Debabrata Saikia, later condemned and strongly opposed the Central government’s notification giving the force power to arrest people and search premises without any warrant in Assam, Nagaland, Manipur, Mizoram and Arunachal Pradesh, and termed the move as manifestation of an “undeclared Emergency”, especially in the Northeast.

“The notification negates the right to freedom of movement guaranteed to citizens by the Constitution of India and hence poses a threat to democracy. Prime Minister Narendra Modi had in his Independence Day speech last year promised to withdraw the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) from the northeastern states,” he said.

“Earlier, too, during a pre-election rally in Imphal, Modi had promised to withdraw the controversial AFSPA if the BJP formed the government at the Centre,” Saikia said, adding that the Prime Minister has exposed his own duplicity by resorting to the undemocratic tactics by giving powers arbitrarily to the Assam Rifles, instead of keeping his word on the AFSPA.

Mentioning that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) frequently talks about peace reigning in the Northeast, Saikia questioned the need to arm the Assam Rifles with additional powers and said that there are reasons to doubt the motive behind the notification.

The Leader of the Opposition pointed out that the Assam Rifles has a dodgy record in upholding human rights and added that there is a strong possibility of this new step hampering integration of the Northeast with India’s mainstream.



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