Other States

Centre extends AFSPA to check Naga factions

The Centre has decided to extend the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) in three districts of Arunachal Pradesh. One of the primary reasons cited by the Centre is “extortion and intimidation” by the cadres of National Socialist Council of Nagaland (Isak-Muivah), who are “contriving to dominate areas hitherto occupied by NSCN (Khaplang).”

The notification has been issued even after the NDA government signed a ‘framework agreement’ with NSCN-IM in September 2015 to find a final solution to the six-decade-old Naga issue.

The Home Ministry’s latest notification, issued on November 4, has, for the first time, said the AFSPA was being extended in the districts of Tirap, Changlang and Longding, all bordering Assam, as the NSCN-IM was desperate to regain control from the NSCN-K.

The latter was banned last year after its alleged involvement in an ambush on an Army convoy in Manipur’s Chandel district, resulting in the death of 17 personnel. Its leader S.S. Khaplang is said to be in Myanmar. The previous notification, issued on May 4, did not mention that NSCN-IM was regaining areas from NSCN-K. The Home Ministry revises its notification every six months. The notification further said, “security scenario [in three districts of Arunachal Pradesh] remains vitiated by the spillover of the Naga insurgency.”

After decades of violence, the NSCN-IM had entered into a ceasefire agreement with India in 1997. The largest group representing the Nagas has demanded a “Greater Nagalim” or a contiguous land for the Nagas, across the States of Nagaland, Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur and Mizoram.

When asked about the notification, a senior government official said, “The ceasefire signed with NSCN-IM is only for Nagaland; it does not include Arunachal Pradesh and Manipur. This notification has been issued after much consultation between the security agencies.”

Disturbed area

The order said the three districts were being declared as “disturbed area” under Section 3 of the AFSPA as “Naga underground factions including NSCN-IM and NSCN-K continue to indulge in extortion, area domination, recruitment of locals and inter-factional rivalry.”

NSCN-K had unilaterally abrogated the ceasefire in March 2015 but NSCN-IM continues to be in a ceasefire pact with the Government of India.

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Printable version | Sep 22, 2021 9:22:44 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/Centre-extends-AFSPA-to-check-Naga-factions/article16440298.ece

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