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Panel poser on army act

New Delhi: A parliamentary panel on Monday questioned top officials of the government and a paramilitary force on imposition of the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act in Assam, saying whether it can be restricted to only sensitive districts of the state.

On Monday, the parliamentary standing committee on home affairs, headed by senior Congress leader P. Chidambaram, was briefed by home secretary Rajiv Gauba and senior officials of the Assam Rifles on the "security situation in the northeastern states of India".

During the meeting, the panel members asked the officials about imposition of the Act in Assam and the present situation, a member who was present in the meeting said.

"The panel members also asked whether AFSPA can be scaled down to a few sensitive districts in Assam as was done in Arunachal Pradesh," the member said. It also questioned the officials about various insurgent groups active in Assam especially the NDFB and Ulfa.

The government officials said the situation in the state was better after imposition of the Act, the member said.

The controversial law was extended for six more months beginning September this year in entire Assam by declaring the state "disturbed".

The stringent law was first imposed in Assam in 1990 after violence perpetuated by Ulfa had created severe law and order crisis.

In Arunachal Pradesh, the Act has been imposed in Tirap and Changlang districts and some police station areas in a few other districts due to the presence of Ulfa, NDFB and several Naga insurgent groups. 

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