Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Saturday said Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led government has once again decided to decrease the jurisdiction of “disturbed areas” declared under the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, 1958 (AFSPA) in Nagaland, Assam and Manipur.
In a series of tweets, Shah said this decision has been taken on account of significant improvement in the security situation in the northeastern region.
“A historic day for the Northeast! PM @narendramodi led GoI has once again decided to decrease the disturbed areas in Nagaland, Assam and Manipur under the AFSPA. This decision has been taken on account of significant improvement in the security situation in North-East India,” he said.
Shah said for the first time in India's history, Modi prioritised security, peace and development in the northeast and as a result of it, the region is now rapidly heading on the path of peace and development.
He expressed gratitude to the prime minister for bringing positive change in the lives of the people of the northeast and connecting the region with the “hearts of the rest of India”.
“Congratulations to our sisters and brothers of the Northeast on this momentous occasion,” Shah said.
The AFSPA gives armed forces personnel, operating in disturbed areas, sweeping powers to search, arrest, and to open fire if they deem it necessary for "the maintenance of public order".
An area or district is notified as a disturbed area under the AFSPA to facilitate the operations of the armed forces.
In Assam, the disturbed area notification has been in force since 1990.
Officials said as a result of the remarkable improvement in the security situation during the Modi government's rule, the disturbed area tag, imposed under the AFSPA, was removed from the entire state of Assam, except nine districts and one sub-division of one district from April 1, 2022.
Now, it has been limited to only eight districts in Assam.
In Manipur, except the Imphal municipality area, the entire state was declared a “disturbed area” in 2004 and it has been in force since then.
On April 1, 2022, 15 police station areas of six districts were freed from the ambit of the AFSPA.
Now, with the removal of the AFSPA from areas falling under four other police station areas with effect from April 1, 2023, the disturbed area tag was removed from a total of 19 police station areas in seven districts of the state, the officials said.
The AFSPA has been in force in Nagaland since 1995. It was removed from 15 police station areas of seven districts from April 1, 2022.
Following a recommendation of a government-appointed committee, the AFSPA was removed from three other police station areas with effect from April 1, 2023, the officials said.
With this, the disturbed area tag has been removed from a total of 18 police station areas in eight districts of Nagaland.