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Assam Declared “Disturbed Area” Under AFSPA

Assam Declared “Disturbed Area” Under AFSPA

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NEW DELHI, Feb 24: The Assam governor Jagdish Mukhi on Wednesday declared the entire state as a “disturbed area” under the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (AFSPA) for a period of six months just ahead of the state Assembly elections due in April-May.

The order would come into force from February 27.

“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of Assam has declared the entire state of Assam as ‘disturbed area’ up to six months beyond February 27, 2021, unless withdrawn earlier,” said a release issued by the state government.

The fresh order is an extension of a similar move in August 28 last year when the state was declared a ‘disturbed area’ for six months. Attacks on security forces in the northeast and recovery of large amounts of arms and ammunition from several parts of Assam had been cited as a reason for the move.

Though there is no official comment yet on the reason behind the extension, government sources said recovery of arms and ammunition in parts of the state could have prompted the Governor to extend AFSPA in Assam.

Significantly, the decision was taken a day after 1040 militants belonging to five different rebel outfits from Karbi Anglong region of the state had laid down arms in the presence of chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal.

Considered a draconian legislation by some, AFSPA allows security forces to conduct search operations and arrest anyone without any warrant. The provisions of AFSPA are applicable only to seven states in the northeast.

At present, besides Assam, AFSPA is in force in Nagaland and parts of Manipur and Arunachal Pradesh.

(Manas Dasgupta)


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