Manipur government has extended the ‘Disturbed Area’ status in the entire state, barring the Imphal municipal areas, for a period of one year from December 1.
The Home Department issued a notification, saying that the “Disturbed Area” tag was extended following the approval of Manipur’s Governor Dr. Najma Heptulla. “In exercise of the power conferred by Section 3 of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA), 1985 as amended time to time, the Governor of Manipur hereby accords ex-post facto approval declared the entire state excluding Imphal Municipal areas with retrospective effect from December 1,” the notification said.
The status, as per the government notification, was extended as the Governor felt that the state is still in the grip of violence perpetrated by extremist or insurgent groups and it is necessary that armed forces remain deployed to help the civil administration ensure order and peace.
Promulgation of “Disturbed Area” status allows the enforcement of the controversial Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA), giving sweeping powers to security forces deployed in the state. The Act has been in force in the state since 1980 and has been extended from time to time.
However, in August 2004, the AFSPA was lifted from seven assembly segments of Imphal Municipal areas during the then Congress regime under Okram Ibobi Singh. The decision came in the face of massive protests after the alleged rape and murder of Thangjam Manorama while in the custody of the Assam Rifles.