Guwahati, May 17, 2019:
The Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) will be removed from Assam after the publication of the final draft NRC on July 31, reports said.
The AFSPA was first implemented 29 years ago back when ULFA militancy was at its peak. It was on November 27, 1990 — when Ulfa militancy was at its peak – that the Army declared Assam as a “disturbed area.”
Meanwhile, the Centre has asked the Army to plan its return from the State of Assam. AFSPA grants special powers to the armed forces while conducting anti-terror operations in a specified area.
According to The Disturbed Areas (Special Courts) Act, 1976 once declared ‘disturbed’, the area has to maintain status quo for a minimum of 3 months. One such Act passed on 11 September 1958 was applicable 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 Assam, Nagaland, Manipur excluding Imphal municipal council area, Changlang, Longding and Tirap districts of Arunachal Pradesh).
The Acts have received criticism from several sections for alleged concerns about human rights violations in the regions of its enforcement alleged to have happened.
Over the years, the Army has gradually withdrawn from several districts as the situation has improved by leaps. Police and paramilitary forces have taken the Army’s place.
Last September, the Centre had delegated to the Assam Government the power to extend or withdraw AFSPA. The state government has twice extended the Act, citing the upcoming publication of the final National Register of Citizens (NRC) on July 31.
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