The Centre has extended the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (AFSPA) for six months in Arunachal Pradesh’s three districts and in the areas falling within the jurisdiction of the state’s eight police stations bordering Assam, notifying them as “disturbed areas”, a government notification said.
Issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs on Monday, the notification said AFSPA has been extended in Tirap, Changlang and Longding districts of Arunachal Pradesh and the eight police stations bordering Assam up to March 31, 2019.
“Now, therefore, Tirap, Changlang and Longding districts in Arunachal Pradesh and the areas falling within the jurisdiction of the following eight police stations in the districts of Arunachal Pradesh, bordering the State of Assam, are declared as ‘disturbed area’ under Section 3 of the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, 1958 up to March 31, 2019 w.e.f. October 1, 2018, unless withdrawn earlier,” the notification said.
The three districts — bordering Myanmar — have been under the AFSPA since January 2016. The government had declared these three districts and the eight police stations bordering Assam as “disturbed” in its earlier notification issued on April 1.
The eight police stations include Balemu and Bhalukpong in Arunachal Pradesh’s West Kameng district, Seijosa in East Kameng district, Balijan in Papumpare district, Namsai and Mahadevpur in Namsai district, Roing in Lower Dibang Valley district and Sunpura in Lohit district.
According to a Home Ministry official, the decision was taken following a review of the law and order situation in the state’s three districts and the eight police station.
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.
The Act was withdrawn from Tripura in 2015 and in past one year, fewer areas in northeast are under the Act, the official said, adding that the Act was in place in Meghalaya for a a 20-km area (along the Assam border) and not in operation in Mizoram.