New Delhi: The Union Home Ministry on Monday completely removed Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (AFSPA) from Meghalaya and diluted it in Arunachal Pradesh.
“AFSPA was totally withdrawn from all areas of Meghalaya from April 1. In Arunachal, it is down from 16 police stations to eight,” the official said. Till September 2017, 40 per cent of Meghalaya was under AFSPA. However, after recent review in consultations with the state government, AFSPA was removed completely from Meghalaya, a MHA statement said.
The Act has, however, been extended by another six months in three eastern districts of Arunachal Pradesh – Tirap, Longding and Changlang – which border Myanmar and specific areas under eight police stations of seven other districts bordering Assam. The three districts have been under the AFSPA since January 2016.
The MHA said that in the last 4 years, there has been a decline of 63 per cent in insurgency-related incidents in the region, while there have been a reduction of 83 per cent in civilian deaths and 40 per cent in casualties of security forces in 2017.
The Act was withdrawn from Tripura in 2015 and in past one year, fewer areas in northeast are under the Act, the official said, adding that the Act was only in place in Meghalaya for a 20-km area along the Assam border) and not in operation in Mizoram.
AFSPA gives 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 and provide cover to forces from prosecution and legal suits without the Central government’s sanction.
It is effective in the whole of Nagaland, Assam, Manipur (excluding seven Assembly constituencies of Imphal). The state governments of Assam and Manipur now have the powers to keep or revoke the Act.