nagaland: Centre extends AFSPA in ‘disturbed’ Nagaland for 6 months | India News

nagaland: Centre extends AFSPA in ‘disturbed’ Nagaland for 6 months | India News

NEW DELHI: Days after it set up a committee under secretary-level officer Vivek Joshi to review application of the controversial Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) in Nagaland, the Centre has declared the entire state as a “disturbed area” under AFSPA for a further period of six months until June 30, 2022.
Stating that the Central government is of the opinion that the area comprising the whole of Nagaland “is in such a disturbed and dangerous condition that the use of armed forces in aid of the civil power is necessary”, the Centre, through a gazette notification issued on Thursday, declared the whole state to be a ‘disturbed area’ for a period of six months with effect from December 30, 2021.
The decision to continue the enforcement of AFSPA across whole of Nagaland comes amid shrill demands to withdraw the controversial Act from the state in view of the killing of iber a dozen civilians in Mon district of Nagaland by Assam Rifles personnel, allegedly due to a case of “mistaken identity”. The Army had constituted an enquiry into the incident immediately after.
The incident led many chiefs ministers of north-eastern states to demand repeal of AFSPA. The Nagaland assembly also went on to pass a resolution demanding the repeal of AFSPA.
Only last week, the Centre — following a review carried out at a meeting chaired by home minister Amit Shah and attended by chief ministers of Assam and Nagaland — decided to constitute a panel for review of AFSPA in Nagaland. The panel — headed by secretary (border management) in MHA Vivek Joshi with additional secretary (northeast) in MHA as member secretary and Nagaland chief secretary, DGP and Assam Rifles DG as members — is expected to submit its report in 45 days.
In the interim, since the validity of AFSPA was expiring on December 30, 2021 the Centre has extended the same for six more months to maintain continuity and also because it sees the situation in Nagaland as “disturbed and dangerous”.
AFSPA was enacted by Parliament in 1958 to tackle insurgency in the north-east. The Parliament also approved a ‘similar’ Armed Forces (Jammu & Kashmir) Special Powers Act in 1990.
Sections 4 and 7 of AFSPA give sweeping powers and legal safeguards to the armed forces – including shoot at sight, arrest and searching houses without warrant — while undertaking counter-terrorism operations. Civil rights groups have been demanding scrapping of AFSPA claiming that the `draconian powers’ it gives to the security forces are `often misused’ against `innocents’. The Army however has strongly opposed any move to repeal AFSPA, saying that it gives the troops `operational flexibility and legality’ in the anti-insurgency battle.

Assam Press