Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma on Monday said that his government is considering withdrawing AFSPA from two more places in the state.
The Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, 1958 (AFSPA) has been extended for six months from October 1 by continuing to label Tinsukia, Dibrugarh, Charideo, Sivasagar, Jorhat, Golaghat, Karbi Anglong and other districts. Dima Hasao along with Lakhipur sub-district of Cachar in Barak valley.
The government has withdrawn the controversial law in West Karbi Anglong district as the situation is “significantly improving” there.
The Special Powers Act of 1958 empowers security forces to conduct raids and arrest anyone without a prior warrant other than to waive immunity from arrest. the law is not brought before the security forces if they kill someone.
“Peace has returned to Assam and the Northeast. Today, AFSPA has been removed from 65 percent of the state’s areas. In the future, we are thinking of removing Lakhipur from Cachar and the entire Karbi Anglong district,” said Sarma.
After withdrawing two more areas from the ambit of AFSPA, six districts of Upper Assam will remain under the Act, he added.
Speaking at a function to provide financial support to militants who surrendered for rehabilitation, Sarma said that the ‘Disturbed Zone’ tag under AFSPA has been removed from various places in Tripura, Meghalaya, Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland and Manipur.
“Assam has seen a lot of bloodshed. It is our duty to stop it and develop our government. We are planning to start a large-scale unemployment plan for the youth of the region,” he added.
The minister handed over a draft application to 318 ex-combatants, who have already laid down their arms, in the presence of the state DGP and other senior officials of the Assam Police, Army, and armed forces.
A one-time cash grant of Rs 1.5 lakh each was awarded to the surrendered cadres of Asom Liberation Front (Independent), United Gorkha People’s Organization (UGPO), Tiwa Liberation Army (TLA), Kuki Liberation Front (KLF), Dimasa. National Liberation Army (DNLA) and Kuki National Liberation Army (KNLA).
“In the last year and a half of our government, all militant organizations, except ULFA (I), in Assam have returned to the mainstream. I am once again appealing to ULFA (I) chief Paresh Barua to advance the society. Peace. not bloodshed,” Sarma said.
He told the gathering that more than 6,780 cadres of various groups have laid down their arms since he assumed office in May last year.