The Home Ministry on Monday extended the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act for another six months — till December-end — in Nagaland, declaring the region a “disturbed area” and in a “dangerous condition”.
AFSPA empowers security forces to conduct operations anywhere and arrest anyone without prior notice. It has been in force in Nagaland for several decades.
In a notification, the Home Ministry said the Centre was of the opinion that the use of armed forces in aid of the civil power was necessary for the northeastern state.
“Now, therefore, in exercise of the powers conferred by Section 3 of the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, 1958 (No. 28 of 1958) the central government hereby declares that whole of the said State to be a ‘disturbed area’ for a period of six months with effect from June 30, 2019, for the purpose of that Act,” the notification read.
Elaborating further, an MHA official said the decision to continue the use of forces had been taken in view of the rise in crimes, loot and extortion cases.
There have been demands from various organisations in the northeast as well as in Jammu and Kashmir for repealing the controversial act, which, they say, gave “sweeping powers” to security forces.
AFSPA has not been withdrawn even after a framework agreement was signed on August 3, 2015, by Naga insurgent group NSCN-IM general secretary Thuingaleng Muivah and government interlocutor R N Ravi in presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
The framework agreement came after over 80 rounds of negotiations spanning 18 years with the first breakthrough in 1997 when the ceasefire agreement was sealed after decades of insurgency in Nagaland.
(With PTI inputs)