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Wednesday, January 19, 2022

Amid row over Nagaland killings, Centre extends AFSPA for six months

This comes at a time when there has been an uproar in the state following the death of 13 civilians, 6 of whom were killed in a botched-up operation in Mon district on December 4 by the Indian Army.

By: Express News Service | New Delhi |
Updated: December 31, 2021 2:58:48 am
Indian army soldiers patrol in Kohima. AFSPA can be imposed in an area or a region only for six months. (Photo: AP)

EVEN AS it set up a committee to look into the demand for removal of the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (AFSPA) from Nagaland, the Centre on Thursday extended the imposition of the law in the state by six months.

In a gazette notification issued on Thursday, the Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) said: “Whereas the central government is of the opinion that the area comprising the whole of the state of Nagaland is in such a disturbed and dangerous condition that the use of armed forces in aid of the civil power is necessary. 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 state of Nagaland to be ‘disturbed area’ for a period of six months with effect from 30th December, 2021, for the purpose of the said Act.”

The imposition of AFSPA in Nagaland was due to expire on December 31, as it was last extended in the state on June 30. AFSPA can be imposed in an area or a region for six months at a time, after which it has to be extended if the government deems it necessary.

On December 26, the Centre set up a high-level committee chaired by a Secretary-level officer to examine the possibility of withdrawing AFSPA in Nagaland. The committee is set to submit its report within 45 days.

The committee was set up following protests over the botched up operation in Mon district of Nagaland on December 4, in which six coal miners were killed. After the incident, the Nagaland Assembly passed a resolution for repeal of AFSPA.

The committee is headed by Registrar General and Census Commissioner of India Vivek Joshi, and includes Additional Secretary in the Union Home Ministry Piyush Goyal, as well as the Chief Secretary and Director General of Police, Nagaland, and the DGP, Assam Rifles, as members.

AFSPA is imposed or lifted from a region by the Centre following due consultation with the state government, the Armed forces and the central agencies.

In March 2018, the MHA had ordered the removal of AFSPA from Meghalaya. In Arunachal Pradesh, it was removed from several police station areas in 2018- 2019, and only three districts and four police station areas that border Assam are currently under AFSPA in the state.

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