The application of the “disturbed area” under the AFSPA has been extended by six months in 12 districts of Nagaland and Arunachal Pradesh and some parts of five other districts of the two states to facilitate anti-insurgency operations, the Centre said on Friday.
The Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, 1958 empowers security forces to conduct operations and arrest anyone without any prior warrant besides giving immunity from arrest and prosecution to the security forces if they shoot someone dead.
According to a notification issued by the Union Home Ministry, the AFSPA will be extended for six months beginning October 1 in nine districts — Dimapur, Niuland, Chumoukedima, Mon, Kiphire, Noklak, Phek, Peren and Zunheboto — and 16 police stations in four other districts — Kohima, Mokokchung, Longleng and Wokha — of Nagaland.
In a separate notification, the ministry said the application of the “disturbed area” under the AFSPA will continue for six more months from Saturday in Tirap, Changlang and Longding districts and the areas falling within the jurisdiction of Namsai and Mahadevpur police stations in Namsai district of Arunachal Pradesh, bordering Assam.
While Nagaland has a total 16 district, Arunachal Pradesh has 26.
The reduction of jurisdiction of AFSPA came in April last following the recommendation of a high-level committee constituted to examine the possibility of lifting of the AFSPA after killing of 14 civilians by the Army in Nagaland’s Mon district in December 2021 in a case of “mistaken identity”.
The AFSPA was completely withdrawn in Tripura in 2015, in Meghalaya in 2018 and in Mizoram in 1980s.
The “disturbed area” was also partially withdrawn in Manipur and Assam too.
There have been protests and demands for the complete withdrawal of the law from the Northeast as well as Jammu and Kashmir for its alleged “draconian” provisions.