Hitting out at the Centre for declaring 12 districts of his state as ‘disturbed’ under AFSPA without any consultation, Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Nabam Tuki on Sunday said such a move was nothing but attack on the federal structure in the country.
“There was no discussion, no consultation. It was an unilateral decision by the central government to declare 12 districts as disturbed area. All these districts are completely peaceful,” he told PTI here.
The Congress leader was reacting to the NDA government’s decision to declare all districts of Arunachal Pradesh bordering Assam as “disturbed areas” under the controversial Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (AFSPA) due to “heightened militant activity” there.
Under the order, which will be in force for a year, security forces will have sweeping powers in all these 12 of 19 districts of the state.
“This is nothing but direct attack on the federal structure of the country,” Tuki said.
He said three districts — Tirap, Changlang and Longding — have the problems of militancy but rest of the nine districts were completely peaceful.
He rubbished the Centre’s contention that six banned militant groups like NDFB, NSCN and ULFA have their presence in some of the areas and they use the state as a safe haven.
“We completely disagree with the Centre’s contention. Arunachal Pradesh has been the most peaceful state in the northeastern region with no history of home grown insurgency,” he said.
Tuki had met Home Minister Rajnath Singh on Thursday and urged him to review the decision.
“There are protests in my state. People in Arunachal Pradesh are angry with the decision,” he said.
In its notification, the Home Ministry said it has found that the law and order situation in all districts of Arunachal Pradesh bordering Assam has continued to be a “matter of concern due to violent incident by underground outfits”.
There is presence of NDFB-S, NSCN-IM, NSCN-K, ULFA-I, KLO, MPLF along the Assam-Arunachal Pradesh border. Groups like KYKL, UNLF, PLA and KCP are helping NDFB-S and ULFA-I and KLO for movement of men, material, infiltration and exfiltration, the notification said.
“The NDFB-S have now set up their general headquarters and training camp in Taga, Myanmar, and are reportedly contemplating to find out a new route for arms transshipment from Myanmar via Changlang district of Arunachal Pradesh. The geographical terrain of Arunachal Pradesh puts the militants in advantageous position and is used by the underground outfits as their safe haven,” it said.
Union Minister of State for Home Kiren Rijiju, who hails from Arunachal Pradesh, on Friday defended his Ministry’s decision saying insurgent groups have started using the border state as a sanctuary and a transit route.
He said the 20 km border belt between Assam and Arunachal Pradesh was already declared a disturbed area since long time due to various terrorist and insurgent groups operating in Assam.
Rijiju said declaration of the districts bordering Assam, in Arunachal Pradesh, as disturbed was made with the sole purpose of enabling the forces to chase and arrest these terrorists and insurgents irrespective of the distance they cover in Arunachal Pradesh for a limited period till these violent Assam based groups are neutralised.
“Reading anything about this measure beyond this is improper and unfortunate,” he had said.