New Delhi: The Central government on Thursday extended the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (AFSPA) in the whole of Nagaland for another six months.
In a notification, the Union Home Ministry said “the Central government is of the opinion that the area comprising the whole of the State of Nagaland is in such a disturbed and dangerous condition that the use of armed forces in aid of the civil power is necessary.”
It added that in exercise of powers conferred under Section 4 of the Act, “the Central government hereby declares that whole of the State of Nagaland to be ‘disturbed area’ for a period of six months with effect from 30th December, 2021, for the purpose of the said Act.”
The last time such an extension was made was on June 30.
The Act, which has been in force in the northeast since 1958, gives unbridled powers to the armed forces and the Central Armed Police Forces deployed in “disturbed areas” to kill anyone acting in contravention of law, arrest and search any premises without a warrant and protection from prosecution and legal suits without the Central government’s sanction.
Both the Central and State governments have concurrent powers to issue a notification under Section 3 of the Act.
The Manipur government on December 8 issued a notification to extend the Act in the State, excluding the municipal areas of Imphal, for another year. The order said “the Governor of Manipur is of the opinion that due to violent activities of various extremist/insurgent groups, the entire State of Manipur is in such a disturbed condition that the use of Armed Forces in aid of civil power is necessary.”
Right from the 1980s, the notification extending the AFSPA in Manipur has been issued by the Manipur government. In the last 40 years, the Centre has not issued any notification under the Act for Manipur.
On December 26, the Centre set up a high-level committee chaired by a Secretary-level officer to examine the possibility of withdrawing AFSPA in Nagaland. The committee is set to submit its report within 45 days.
The committee was set up following protests over the botched up operation in Mon district of Nagaland on December 4, in which six coal miners were killed. After the incident, the Nagaland Assembly passed a resolution for repeal of AFSPA. With agency inputs