New Delhi: The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has partially withdrawn the controversial Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) from Arunachal Pradesh. The decision was taken on Tuesday, said a report.
The Act, which gives sweeping powers to security forces, was partially withdrawn from three of the state’s nine districts. However, it would remain in force in the areas bordering Myanmar, the MHA order said.
AFSPA is declared in areas where armed forces are required to operate in aid to civil authorities. For AFSPA to become valid, an area needs to be declared “disturbed” either by the Central or the state government under Section 3 of the Act.
As per the MHA notification, the four police station areas in Arunachal Pradesh which were declared “disturbed areas” under AFSPA are no longer under the purview of the special law.
The areas from where the AFSPA has been withdrawn are Balemu and Bhalukpong police stations in West Kameng district, Seijosa police station in East Kameng district and Balijan police station in Papumpare district.
Meanwhile, the neighbouring Nagaland continues to be under AFSPA till June-end.
In a notification, the Home Ministry said the Centre was of the opinion that the area comprising the whole of state of Nagaland was in such a disturbed and dangerous condition that the use of armed forces in aid of civilian power is necessary.
The controversial Act has gained currency with the Congress’ promising to amend the law that gives special powers to soldiers in the conflict zone.The BJP was quick to accuse the party of catering to terrorists and anti-nationals.
In insurgency-hit areas, AFSPA allows soldiers to arrest and even open fire on anyone breaking the law. But over the years, there have been allegations of excesses from locals and activists in J&K and even the N-E.