The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has extended the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (AFSPA) in parts of Arunachal Pradesh and Nagaland for another six months.
Tirap, Changlang and Longding districts in Arunachal Pradesh and the areas falling within the jurisdiction of Namsai and Mahadevpur police stations in Namsai district along the Assam border, are declared as “disturbed areas” under Section 3 of the AFSPA 1958 for a period of six months from October 1, “unless withdrawn earlier”, the Ministry said in a notification on Friday.
Nine districts and 16 police stations in four districts of Nagaland were being declared as “disturbed areas” after a review of the law and order situation in the State, it added.
AFSPA has been extended in Dimapur, Niuland, Chumoukedima, Mon, Kiphire, Noklak, Phek, Peren and Zunheboto districts in Nagaland and the areas in Nagaland falling within the jurisdiction of i) Khuzama, Kohima North, Kohima South, Zubza and Kezocha police stations in Kohima District; ii) Mangkolemba, Mokokchung-I, Longtho, Tuli, Longchem and Anaki ‘C’ police stations in Mokokchung District; iii) Yanglok police station in Longleng District; and iv) Bhandari, Champang, Ralan and Sungro police stations in Wokha District for another six months.
On April 1, MHA had considerably reduced “disturbed areas” in the States of Assam, Manipur and Nagaland. AFSPA had been applicable in the whole of Nagaland since 1995.
The law gives unbridled power to the armed forces and the Central Armed Police Forces deployed in “disturbed areas” to kill anyone acting in contravention of law, arrest anyone and search any premises without a warrant, and protection from prosecution and legal suits without the Central government’s sanction. Both State and Central government can issue notification regarding AFSPA.
Currently, the MHA has issued periodic “disturbed area” notification to extend the AFSPA only for Nagaland and Arunachal Pradesh.
The notification for Manipur and Assam is issued by the State governments. Tripura revoked the Act in 2015 and Meghalaya was under the AFSPA for 27 years, until it was revoked by the Ministry on April 1, 2018.