Two days after the union home ministry extended application of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) to 12 more districts of Arunachal Pradesh – all bordering Assam, chief minister Nabam Tuki has taken strong exception to the Centre’s decision and asked it to urgently review the decision taken “unilaterally” by the latter.
Chief minister Tuki, who called on union home minister Rajnath Singh in New Delhi expressed his concerns at the Centre’s decision and said the 12 districts brought under the AFSPA’s purview were “peaceful” and resented that the Centre’s decision was “unilateral” and taken without consulting the state government.
Official sources in Itanagar said Tuki told Rajnath Singh that Arunachal Pradesh has been the most peaceful state in the Northeastern region with no history of home-grown insurgency. He admitted that the three districts of Tirap, Changlang and Longding were insurgency-infected, but also pointed out that the rebels were from other neighboring states and Myanmar.
AFSPA has been in force in Tirap, Changlang and Longding since 1991 after they were categorized as disturbed area by Ministry of Home Affairs. It was subsequently extended to a 20-km belt in districts that share borders with Assam. Against this historical backdrop of AFSPA in Arunachal Pradesh, chief minister Tuki categorically denied the need for extending the ambit of AFSPA to border districts of the state in entirety as notified by the MHA, official sources said.
The union home minister is understood to have assured Tuki of examining and reviewing the decision, sources added.
Kiren Rijiju, union minister of state for home, who hails from Arunachal Pradesh had on Thursday stated that the AFPSA was extended to only those areas of the state where militants were operating and that the Act would remain in force only for a limited period. “Once operations are over, the Act would be withdrawn (from those districts),” Rijiju was quoted to have told the media.