The Central government on Friday extended for another six months the application of the “disturbed area” under the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act — known as AFSPA — in 12 districts of Nagaland and Arunachal Pradesh, and certain parts of five other districts of the two northeastern states to facilitate the armed forces to continue the anti-insurgency operations.
The notification issued by Home Ministry said that the AFSPA would be extended for six months beginning Saturday (October 1) in nine districts — Dimapur, Niuland, Chumoukedima, Mon, Kiphire, Noklak, Phek, Peren and Zunheboto — and 16 police stations areas in four other districts — Kohima, Mokokchung, Longleng and Wokha — of Nagaland.
In a separate notification, the Home Ministry said the application of the “disturbed area” under the AFSPA will continue for six more months from Saturday in Tirap, Changlang and Longding districts and the areas falling within the jurisdiction of Namsai and Mahadevpur police stations in Namsai district of Arunachal Pradesh, adjoining Assam.
Nagaland has 16 districts while Arunachal Pradesh has 26 districts.
Union Home Minister Amit Shah on March 31 announced to reduce the operation of AFSPA from April 1 in Assam, Nagaland and Manipur while most of the political parties and NGOs have been demanding to repeal the AFSPA.
The demand intensified after the security forces killed 14 people and injured 30 others in Mon district of Nagaland in December last year in a case of “mistaken identity”.
Almost all Chief Ministers of the northeastern states and most political parties welcomed the Central government’s announcement to reduce the disturbed areas under the AFSPA.
The AFSPA, which allows the Army and other central para-military forces to conduct raids, operations, arrest anyone anywhere without prior notice or arrest warrant, was in force in Nagaland, Assam, Manipur barring the Imphal municipal council area and certain districts of Arunachal Pradesh.
The reduction of jurisdiction of AFSPA in certain northeastern states came in April 1 following the recommendation of a high-level committee constituted to examine the possibility of lifting of the AFSPA after the killing of 14 civilians in Nagaland.
The AFSPA was entirely lifted in Tripura in 2015, in Meghalaya in 2018, and in Mizoram in 1980s.