On Thursday, the Special Powers of the Armed Forces Act was withdrawn from the hilly district of Assam. The Assam government on Thursday withdrew the name of ‘AFSPA from Karbi Anglong’ The decision was taken after the latest review meeting on the law-and-order situation in the state.
The recent review of the law and order and security situation in Assam indicates that the situation in the West Karbi Anglong district of the state has improved significantly. The Governor, exercising the powers conferred under Section 3 of the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, 1958 and in the additional session of the previous notification, withdrew the names of the troubled areas from the West Karbi Anglong district of Assam.
Earlier, eight other districts and one sub-division besides West Karbi Anglong were placed in the unrest zone. They are Tinsukia, Dibrugarh, Charideo, Sibsagar, Jorhat, Golaghat, Karbi Anglong, Dima Hasao and parts of Lakshipur sub-divisions of Cachar. While West Karbi Anglong district is free of unrest zones, the remaining eight districts and one sub-division are still marked as unrest zones. The Special Powers of the Armed Forces Act has been extended again in these eight districts and the Lakshipur sub-division of the Cachar district.
The area has been declared a ‘troubled zone’ again for six months since October.
Amit Shah, who arrived in Guwahati on a two-day visit to Assam in May, made important remarks on AFSPA while attending the Presidential Badge awarding ceremony to the Assam Police. Shah announced that the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) would soon be withdrawn from the entire Assam.
The Union Government on February 28 extended the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA extended for six months in Assam) by declaring Assam a ‘troubled zone’ for another six months. However, the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, 1958 was first imposed in Assam in November 1990, and since then, it has been extended every six months after a review by the State Government (Armed Forces Special Powers Act).
What is Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act? AFSPA
Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (AFSPA), 1958 is an act of the Parliament of India that grants special powers to the Indian Armed Forces to maintain public order in “disturbed areas.”
According to the Disturbed Areas (Special Courts) Act, 1976, once declared ‘disturbed,’ the area has to maintain the status quo for a minimum of 6 months. One such act passed on September 11, 1958, applied to the Naga Hills, then part of Assam.
In the following decades, it spread, one by one, to the other Seven Sister States in India’s northeast (at present, it is in force in the States of Assam, Nagaland, Manipur (excluding Imphal Municipal Council Area), Changlang, Longding and Tirap districts of Arunachal Pradesh, and areas falling within the jurisdiction of the eight police stations of districts in Arunachal Pradesh bordering the State of Assam.