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Armed Forces Special Powers Act in North East

Seven states of North East and Sikkim are included in the image
North East India Image Source Wikipedia

A review of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) has been carried out in the North East due to rising demand from the local population after the botched ambush of December 2021. In a substantial review the Ministry of Home Affairs has reduced the number of districts and police stations under AFSPA in the States in North East. The same is now applicable with effect from April 21 for six months in 31 districts of 4 North East States as follows:-

ü Arunachal Pradesh. The State has a limited insurgency which is restricted to Tirap, Changlang and Longing districts, and the areas within jurisdiction of Namsai and Mahadevour police stations in Namsai district bordering Assam in which AFSPA is applicable.

ü Assam. AFSPA is applicable in nine districts and one sub-division of Assam to include Tinsukia, Dibrugarh, Charaideo, Sivasagar, Jorhat, Golaghat, Karbi Anglong, West Karbi Anglong, Dima Hasao districts and Lakhipur sub-division of Cachar district.

ü Manipur. Of the sixteen districts of the State AFSPA has been removed from police stations of Lamphel, City, Singjamei, Sekmai, Lamsang and Patsoi (all in Imphal West district), Porompat, Heingang, Lamlai and Irilbung (all in Imphal East district), Thoubal (Thoubal district), Bishnupur, (Bishnupur district), Kakching (Kakching district) and Jiribam (Jiribam district).

ü Meghalaya. AFSPA is not in force in Meghalaya since 2018.

ü Mizoram. AFSPA is not in force in Mizoram after the Mizo Accord in the 1980’s.

ü Nagaland. Dimapur, Niuland, Chumoukedima, Mon, Kiphire, Noklak, Phek, Peren and Zunheboto districts in Nagaland and areas falling within the jurisdiction of police stations of Khuzama, Kohima North, Kohima South, Zubza and Kezocha in Kohima district, Mangkolemba, Mokokchung-I, Longtho, Tuli, Longchem and Anaki 'C' in Mokokchung district, Yanglok in Longleng district and Bhandari, Champang, Ralan and Sungro in Wokha district are declared as 'disturbed area' under the AFSPA.

ü Tripura. AFSPA is not in force in Tripura since 2015

Note on Armed Forces Special Powers Act.

Armed Forces (Assam and Manipur) Special Powers Ordinance was promulgated by the President on 22nd May of 1958. In which some special powers have been given to the members of the armed forces in disturbed areas in the State of Assam and Union Territory of Manipur. Later the Ordinance was replaced by the armed Forces Special Powers Bill and Act.

The Act empowers the declaration of a to be a disturbed area. On such a declaration being made in the Official Gazette, any Commissioned Officer, Warrant Officer, non-commissioned officer or any other person of equivalent rank in the armed forces may exercise, in the disturbed area, the powers conferred by section 4 and 5 of the Act.

Within these provisions use of force including firing is permitted up to the level of a Non Commissioned Officer but after due warning.

The armed forces are also required to act in cooperation with the district administration and not as an Independent body and work in harmony with the administration when deployed in the disturbed area.

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