AFSPA removed from Meghalaya, restricted in Arunachal

AFSPA removed from Meghalaya, restricted in Arunachal

AFSPA removed from Meghalaya, restricted in Arunachal

Act, AFSPA has been removed completely from Meghalaya.

State Congress president Takam Sanjoy said the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, which empowers security forces to conduct operations and arrest individuals without prior notice, is "not relevant" in a peaceful state like Arunachal Pradesh.

"A review was held in consultation with the state government in September previous year and the 20 km stretch under AFSPA was reduced to 10 km", the Indian Express quoted an unnamed official of the ministry of home affairs as saying.

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The Armed Forces Special Powers Act is imposed on "disturbed areas" and gives the armed forces special powers to maintain law and order in these areas. It was not withdrawn in Nagaland even after a framework agreement was signed on August 3, 2015 by Naga insurgent group NSCN-IM general secretary Thuingaleng Muivah and government interlocutor RN Ravi in presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Act (AFSPA) from Meghalaya and reduced it to eight police stations in Arunachal Pradesh, a senior Home Ministry official said on Monday.

States of Nagaland, Assam and Manipur (other than Imphal Council Area) are now under AFSPA. Irom Sharmila, a civil rights activist, went on a hunger strike for 16 years, in protest against the AFSPA, demanding its withdrawal from her state Manipur where the Act remains operational.

The three districts have been under the AFSPA since January 2016. The decision of the State Government as to whether or not an area is "disturbed" can be overruled by the Governor or the Centre.

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According to MHA, in the last four years, there has been a decline of 63 per cent in insurgency-related incidents in the region.

"The government has also relaxed the Protected Area Permit (PAP) or visa restrictions for foreigners visiting Manipur, Mizoram, and Nagaland".

Assam has been under AFSPA since 1980s when the state was brought under "disturbed area" category. Similarly, civilian deaths decreased 83% in 2017 while casualty figures among security forces fell 40%.

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In a separate decision, the home ministry also enhanced the aid under its Surrender-cum-Rehabilitation policy for militants in the Northeast from '1 lakh to '4 lakh. "We are thankful to the central government for considering removing AFSPA from the state", he said, adds Rining Lyngdoh from Shillong.

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