AFSPA extended to four States as uncertainty looms over Naga peace talks | Media Pyro


Officials cite uncertainty over the outcome of the Naga peace process as one of the reasons.

Officials cite uncertainty over the outcome of the Naga peace process as one of the reasons.

The uncertainty surrounding the end of the Naga peace process is one of the reasons why the Armed Forces (ASPPA) has been kept in parts of Assam, Manipur, Nagaland, and Arunachal Pradesh for another six months, according to quoted. government officials.

From April 1, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) and state governments have significantly reduced the “disturbance zones” in Assam, Manipur, and Nagaland. AFSPA was applicable in all of Nagaland and Assam till March 31. According to Section 3 of the Act, the state governments and the MHA have the same power to notify the areas under AFSPA. In Assam, the MHA has been issuing the “disturbed zone” order since 2017. Since then Assam has been updating the notification every six months, the last one issued on March 31. On September 30, the MHA extended the AFSPA to certain sections. of Nagaland and Arunachal Pradesh for another six months.

Explained | Reinstatement of part of the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act.

The law gives the armed forces unlimited powers to kill anyone who commits illegal acts, to arrest and search any place without a court warrant, and to protect them from prosecution and legal proceedings. The central government does not impose any sanctions.

“In Assam, AFSPA is being maintained in areas along the Nagaland border. In Nagaland, there is a peace process going on and once it is over, we will be able to further reduce the special law zones,” GP Singh, Director General of Police, Assam told The Hindu.

The Center is engaged in consultations with the National Socialist Council of Nagaland (Isak-Muivah) and the seven Naga National Political Groups (NNPGs) to find a solution to the Naga political issue. The Isak-Muivah group, a key member of the Naga peace talks, has been demanding a separate constitution and a separate flag for the Nagas and the creation of a ‘Greater Nagaland’ or Nagalim by merging the Naga areas with neighboring Assam. , Manipur, and Arunachal Pradesh to unite 1.2 million Nagas.

Another Nagaland police official said that the continuation of AFSPA is needed in the border areas of the three States to curb the activities of underground gangs.

Increased closure

When AFSPA was first revoked in 60% of Assam on April 1, the State in 2020 and 2021 witnessed an increase in the number of arms handed over and the number of militants arrested. In the years 2020 and 2021, the number of militants arrested were 146 and 216, while the surrendered weapons were 342 and 432 during the same period. Since September of this year, 131 fighters have been arrested and 83 have surrendered their weapons.

The official said that the special powers of the law have been removed as there has been violence, and many groups of militants have been killed. He said that the requirement of AFSPA was not needed now as the presence of armed forces was decreasing in the region even before the forces were moved to the northern border (Ladakh) to improve the situation. “When there is no army, what is the purpose of continuing AFSPA? The police have enough provisions under the Criminal Procedure Code,” said Mr. Singh. India and China have been engaged in a standoff since April-May 2020 in Ladakh.

Just a dynamic group

He said that Paresh Baruah’s United Liberation Front of Assam (ULFA) is the only major group that is still active but does not operate in Assamese soil. “The group has not been able to recruit any staff for the past five or six months,” said Mr. Singh. Paresh Baruah is said to be in Myanmar.

Mr. Singh added that in the last two years, infrastructure projects have been improving as the outstanding balances have decreased. “If there is no insurgency in an area, extortion is also over, which automatically attracts investors. Projects are completed quickly. Previously, they used to take a long time because they had to wait for police protection and a security ring to get them done. carry out the work,” the official added.

On September 15, Union Home Minister Amit Shah said that it was the government’s aim to resolve the border disputes in the northeast and reconcile all armed groups in the region before 2024. On May 10, the minister said that AFSPA would soon be implemented. All areas of Assam have been evacuated.

Treaty with Manipur

Echoing this, Manipur Chief Minister N Biren Singh said The Hindu that after AFSPA was revoked in some parts of Manipur, 78 militants joined in total. He said that most of the militant groups in the region have signed the cease-fire agreement with the government.

“Biren 2.0 saw the return of 78 militants. The surrender follows Home Minister Amit Shah’s statement that there was not a single FIR. [First Information Report] it will be filed and not a single shot will be fired if anyone wants to lay down arms,” said Mr. Singh, adding that the region is now attracting international investors.

In Manipur which has 16 districts, 15 police stations in six districts have been evacuated around the crisis zone. In early 2004, AFSPA was removed from the district areas of Imphal. Areas where AFSPA is in effect are near Nagaland or share an international border with Myanmar.

Arunachal Pradesh’s Tirap, Changlang, and Longding districts and areas under the jurisdiction of Namsai and Mahadevpur police stations in the state’s Namsai district along the Assam border have been declared a ‘disturbed area’.


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