NewDelhi: Ahead of Assembly elections due to be announced soon, the declaration of Assam as a “disturbed area” has been extended for six months under AFSPA.
An order released on Wednesday by Governor Jagdish Mukhi said:
"As per powers conferred under Section 3 of the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, 1958, the Governor of Assam has declared the entire State of Assam as "Disturbed Area" upto 6 (six) months beyond 27/02/2021, unless withdrawn earlier."
The order assigns no reason for the extension of AFSPA, which is in force across any states in the North-East, as per reports.
On August 28, last year, too, the North-Eastern state had been declared a ‘disturbed area’ for six months, following “recoveries of arms and ammunition at various locations of the State in the last six months and also the recent attacks of insurgents on security forces in the north-eastern region,” stated a release, quoted by Sentinel Assam.
Under AFSPA, which has been in force in Assam since November 1990, security forces have sweeping powers to conduct operations and arrest anyone anywhere without prior notice.
The AFSPA is considered a ‘draconian’ law and many civil society groups and activists have demanded its withdrawal.
Critics have also questioned the continuation of Assam as a ‘disturbed area’ and the enforcement of AFSPA in many North-Eastern states when the Centre as well as some state government have been claiming that the insurgency problem has been quelled in the entire region, with many insurgent outfits also in talks with the government.
The Home Ministry data itself claims that insurgency has declined since 2014, when the Narendra Modi government came to power at the Centre.
“The MHA report stated that compared to the year 2017, insurgency in the region has declined by 36 per cent year-on-year and by approximately 63 per cent since 2014. “
“The year 2018 also witnessed a jump in the deaths of civilians and security forces. But the year also saw the highest number of terrorists killed, 270 in total nation-wide ever since the Modi government came to power in 2014. The maximum number of terrorists killed in a calendar year was in 2008 – 339 terrorists neutralized by security forces,” said a report in NeNow.
The Home Ministry’s report covered the state of Assam, Meghalaya, Nagaland, Manipur, Arunachal Pradesh, Mizoram and Tripura.
AFSPA was lifted after 18 years in Tripura in 2015, by the Left Front government led by Manik Sarkar.