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AFSPA to be reduced in Nagaland, Assam, Manipur announces Govt

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New Delhi, Mar 31: The Union Government has decided to reduce the disturbed areas under the Armed Forces Special Powers Act in three northeastern states.

AFSPA to be reduced in Nagaland, Assam, Manipur announces Govt

The AFSPA will now be reduced in the states of Nagaland, Assam and Manipur. Taking to Twitter, Union Home Minister, Amit Shah said, "in a significant step, GoI under the decisive leadership of PM Shri @NarendraModi Ji has decided to reduce disturbed areas under Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) in the states of Nagaland, Assam and Manipur after decades.

This decision shows the commitment of our government. Peace and Development are two parallel tracks. Peace cannot prevail without development and vice versa. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has focussed on peace and development for the entire Northeast, Union Minister Kiren Rijiju told ANI.

The reduction of AFSPA area in the Northeast is a historic decision. A lot of steps have been taken by HM and PM. Arunachal Pradesh had removed AFSPA long back except in 3 districts. This decision shows that the era of peace has arrived in the Northeast, Rijiju also said.

I wholeheartedly welcome the decision of PM Modi to withdraw AFSPA from all areas of Assam barring 9 districts & 1 sub-division. I also convey our deep gratitude to HM Shah for this bold decision. Now around 60% of State's area will be free from AFSPA's purview, Assam Chief Minister, Himanta Biswa Sarma told news agency ANI.

The act empowers security forces to conduct operations anywhere and arrest anyone without any prior warrant. It also gives a certain level of immunity to the security forces in case of an operation going wrong.

The AFSPA was imposed in Assam in November 1990 and has been extended every six months since then after a review by the state government.

Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma had said on January 1 that the Army was virtually withdrawn from Assam, except for five-six districts and when AFSPA would come up for renewal, the state government would take "some pragmatic decision".

"As far as AFSPA is concerned, Assam will see some rationalising in 2022...how and when we don't know. But I am an optimistic man. We are looking at 2022 as a year of hope. There will be some positive moments regarding AFSPA," he had said.

Civil society groups and rights activists have been demanding withdrawal of the "draconian law" from the North East claiming violation of human rights by the armed forces.

The cry to repeal the act gained renewed momentum following the death of 14 civilians in firing by security forces in a botched anti-insurgency operation and retaliatory violence in Mon district of Nagaland on December 4 last year.

(With PTI inputs)

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