Guwahati, March 31: Union Home Minister Amit Shah today announced that the central government has decided to reduce the disturbed areas under Armed Forces (Special Power) Act, 1958 (AFSPA) in three north-eastern states -- Nagaland, Assam and Manipur in view of improved situation in these states.
Shah announced the much expected decision in three separate tweets even as most of the political parties and NGOs in the NE region have been demanding to repeal the AFSPA especially after the security forces inadvertently killed 14 people and injured 30 others in Mon district of Nagaland on December 4 and 5 last year.
Taking on twitter Shah announced: "In a significant step, GoI under the decisive leadership of PM Shri Narendra Modi Ji has decided to reduce disturbed areas under Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) in the states of Nagaland, Assam and Manipur after decades."
"Reduction in areas under AFSPA is a result of the improved security situation and fast-tracked development due to the consistent efforts and several agreements to end insurgency and bring lasting peace in North East by PM Narendra Modi government," he said.
In another tweet, the Home Minister said: "Thanks to PM Narendra Modi Ji's unwavering commitment, our North-Eastern region, which was neglected for decades is now witnessing a new era of peace, prosperity and unprecedented development. I congratulate the people of North East on this momentous occasion.
Manipur Chief Minister N. Biren Singh, his Tripura counterpart Biplab Kumar Deb and Nagaland counterpart Neiphiu Rio first welcomed the Centre’s announcement.
Singh tweeted: "Mananiya Pradhan Mantri Shri Narendra Modi Ji ko Koti Koti Naman. Considering the sentiment of the people of Manipur, Assam and Nagaland, the Hon'ble PM Shri Narendra Modi Ji has decided to reduce disturbed areas under Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA)."
Deb, in his tweet, said: "I welcome the step of reducing the disturbed areas under AFSPA for Assam, Nagaland, and Manipur. This will ensure the further development of the North East.
The AFSPA, which allows the Army and other central para-military forces to conduct raids, operations, arrest anyone anywhere without prior notice or arrest warrant, is in force in Nagaland, Assam, Manipur barring the Imphal municipal council area and certain districts of Arunachal Pradesh.
Rio in his tweet said: "Grateful to GoI under the leadership of Shri Narendra Modi ji & Amit Shah ji for reducing disturbed areas under AFSPA in the states of Nagaland, Assam & Manipur. This is a significant development towards bringing stability, security & prosperity to the North East region."
Tripura is the only state in the Northeaster region where AFSPA was withdrawn in May 2015 by the then Left Front government-led by the then Chief Minister Manik Sarkar after terror activities were tamed.
The AFSPA was also lifted from the bordering areas of Meghalaya in 2018. The Union Home Ministry from time to time, reviewing the security situation, extends the period of AFSPA from six months to one year.
The Nagaland Assembly, in a special session in December last year, unanimously passed a resolution demanding repeal the AFSPA from the entire northeast, and specifically from Nagaland, so as to bolster the ongoing efforts to find a permanent political settlement to the Naga political issue.