Armed Forces Special Powers Act extended in Assam for six months
The Assam government on Tuesday said it has extended the controversial Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, 1958 in the entire state for six more months with effect from February 28.
The act empowers security forces to conduct operations anywhere and arrest anyone without any prior warrant. It also gives a certain level of immunity to the security forces in case of an operation going wrong.
“After reviewing the law and order situation in Assam in the past six months, the state government has declared the entire State of Assam as ‘Disturbed Area’ up to 6 (six) months with effect from 28/02/2022, unless withdrawn earlier,” an official release said on Tuesday.
The government had last extended the “Disturbed Area” status of the state for another six months with effect from August 28 last year, thereby continuing the application of the AFSPA.
The AFSPA was imposed in Assam in November 1990 and has been extended every six months since then after a review by the state government.
Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma had said on January 1 that the Army was virtually withdrawn from Assam, except for five-six districts and when AFSPA would come up for renewal, the state government would take “some pragmatic decision”.
“As far as AFSPA is concerned, Assam will see some rationalising in 2022...how and when we don't know. But I am an optimistic man. We are looking at 2022 as a year of hope. There will be some positive moments regarding AFSPA,” he had said.
Civil society groups and rights activists have been demanding withdrawal of the “draconian law” from the North East claiming violation of human rights by the armed forces.
The cry to repeal the act gained renewed momentum following the death of 14 civilians in firing by security forces in a botched anti-insurgency operation and retaliatory violence in Mon district of Nagaland on December 4 last year.