- The Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act is set to be withdrawn from Assam in August. In 1990, the entire was declared a “disturbed area” and AFPSA was imposed when the United Liberation Front of Assam (ULFA) militancy was at peak. ULFA sought to establish an independent state of Assam with an armed struggle in the Assam conflict.
- In September 2018, the Centre had delegated to Assam the power to extend or withdraw AFSPA. The state government has had twice extended the Act, citing the upcoming publication of the final National Register of Citizens (NRC). The deadline for submitting the complete and final NRC is July 31st.
- The Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act was enacted in 1958 to bring under control what the government of India considered ‘disturbed’ areas.
- The state or central government considers those areas as ‘disturbed’ “by reason of differences or disputes between members of different religious, racial, language or regional groups or castes or communities.
- Section (3) of the AFSPA empowers the governor of the state or Union territory to issue an official notification in The Gazette of India, following which the Centre has the authority to send in armed forces for civilian aid.
- Once declared ‘disturbed’, the region has to maintain status quo for a minimum of three months, according to The Disturbed Areas (Special Courts) Act, 1976.
- The AFSPA offers powers to the Army and Central forces deployed in disturbed areas to kill anyone acting in contravention of law, arrest and search any premises without a warrant. These armed forces are immune from prosecution unless Union Government provides sanction to the prosecuting agencies.
- AFSPA is effective in the whole of Nagaland, Assam, Manipur (excluding seven assembly constituencies of Imphal) and parts of Arunachal Pradesh. The Centre had revoked it in Meghalaya on April 1, 2018.
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