New Delhi, July 5: The Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) has always been a contentious issue in Jammu and Kashmir and in several states of northeast India.
Amid a lot of protest against the draconian AFSPA, the Union home ministry has decided to "partially withdraw" the AFSPA from Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-ruled Assam and Arunachal Pradesh.
The decision has been arrived at following an improvement in the "security situation" in these two northeastern states, a government official was quoted as saying by PTI.
The officials said according to a home ministry assessment, security situation was "better" in Assam and Arunachal Pradesh than never before and the imposition of AFSPA could be further reduced. They said views of the state governments had been sought on the partial withdrawal.
"In the recent past, we have reduced the time period of the AFSPA in these states," a senior official said.
However, recently the imposition of AFSPA has been extended for six more months in Nagaland.
In May, the central government through a gazette notification, had declared the entire Assam as a "disturbed" area under the AFSPA for three more months, citing various violent activities by insurgent groups United Liberation Front of Assam (ULFA), National Democratic Front of Bodoland (NDFB) and others.
In another notification, the ministry had also declared three districts of Arunachal Pradesh--Tirap, Changlang and Longding--besides areas falling under 16 police stations bordering Assam as "disturbed" under the AFSPA for three more months.
The Act has been in effect in Assam since November 1990 while in the three districts of Arunachal Pradesh it has been in force since January 2016.
Currently, the AFSPA is in place in Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Mizoram, Manipur, Meghalaya and Nagaland.
The Act was passed by Parliament in 1958 which grants special powers to the Indian Armed Forces in areas deemed "disturbed".