The Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) has been withdrawn from Meghalaya and its area of operation in Arunachal Pradesh has been restricted to eight police stations bordering Assam and three districts adjoining Myanmar, according to officials in Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA). Among the eight Northeast states, AFSPA is now applicable only in Nagaland, Manipur (excluding Imphal), Assam and parts of Arunachal Pradesh. Mizoram and Tripura reported no incidents of insurgency in 2017, the officials said. MHA officials said that till September 2017, 40 per cent of Meghalaya was under AFSPA — this included a 20 km stretch of the state’s 884.9 km border with Assam. “A review was held in consultation with the state government in September last year and the 20 km stretch under AFSPA was reduced to 10 km. Another review was held recently after which the decision to revoke AFSPA was taken,” said a top MHA official.
The decision, the official added, has been taken due to significant improvement of the security situation in the state. In Arunachal Pradesh, areas under AFSPA have been reduced from 16 police stations areas bordering Assam to eight police stations, and Tirap, Changlang and Longding districts, bordering Myanmar.
To improve security situation in areas adjoining Myanmar, the cabinet committee on security has approved the MHA proposal for enhancement in overall cost from Rs 138.95 crore to Rs 212.85 crore for strengthening of police establishments, infrastructure development for 11 new police stations and upgradation of 9 police Stations in Tirap, Changlang and Longding.
Another official said there has been substantial improvement in the security situation in Northeastern states in the past four years and the Centre is considering withdrawal of central forces in the coming days. The MHA in March sanctioned 10 India Reserve Battalions, two each for Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, Meghalaya and Tripura. “MHA will reimburse 75 per cent of standard cost of raising and half the cost of infrastructure development for these new battalions,” the MHA said in a statement. These battalions will be trained at par with Central Armed Police Forces and will help the states maintain law and order.
The MHA also enhanced the surrender-cum-rehabilitation policy for Northeast. Under the revised norms from April 1, 2018, a militant who surrenders will get a grant of Rs 4 lakh as against Rs 1 lakh earlier. 2017, according to MHA, recorded the lowest insurgency incidents and casualties among civilians and security forces in the last two decades.