Guwahati: The Assam government is considering withdrawing the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) from at least two other areas in the state, Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said on Monday.
While on a mission to provide financial support to militants who surrendered for rehabilitation, he claimed that peace has returned to Assam and the northeast, and AFSPA has been removed from 65 percent of the state’s areas.
“We are thinking of removing AFSPA from Lakhipur sub-district of Cachar district and entire Karbi Anglong,” he added.
Sarma further said that after the withdrawal of AFSPA in two other areas, the law will be enforced only in six districts of upper Assam.
On October 1, the Assam government withdrew the ‘disturbed zone’ designation of West Karbi Anglong under AFSPA, while AFSPA was extended for another six months to Tinsukia, Dibrugarh, Charaideo, Sivasagar, Jorhat, Golaghat, Karbi Anglong, and Dima Hasao Districts. along with Lakhipur subdivision of Cachar district.
The minister said: “Assam has seen a lot of bloodshed. Now it is our duty to stop and develop the government.”
Sarma dismissed the state government’s plan to launch an ambitious scheme to provide job opportunities to the unemployed youth.
He handed over a draft to 318 ex-combatants, who had already laid down their arms.
Also, a one-time grant of Rs 1.5 lakh each was awarded to the surrendered cadres of United Liberation Front of Asom-Independent (ULFA-I), United Gorkha People’s Organization (UGPO), Tiwa Liberation Army (TLA), Cookie Liberation. Front (KLF), Dimasa National Liberation Army (DNLA) and Kuki National Liberation Army (KNLA).
Sarma informed that more than 6,780 cadres of various militant organizations have laid down their arms since he took over the Ministry’s General Office last year.
“In the last year and a half, all the militant organizations in Assam except ULFA-I have returned to the mainstream of the society. I once again request ULFA-I chief Paresh Barua to take the society forward peacefully and without bloodshed,” he added.
Assam DGP Bhaskarjyoti Mahanta and senior officers of Assam Police, Army, and armed forces were present on the occasion.