afspa: MHA Extends Afspa in ‘disturbed and dangerous’ Nagaland

The Union home ministry on Thursday extended the Armed Forces (Special Power) Act (Afspa) in Nagaland for another six months, days after the Centre announced the setting up of a seven-member committee to review the law that gives special powers to the armed forces to maintain public order in disturbed areas.

The extension of Afspa comes amid increasing demand for scrapping it after the death of 14 civilians and a security personnel in Nagaland’s Mon district on December 4, when security forces allegedly fired at villagers mistaking them as terrorists. The Nagaland assembly on December 20 unanimously passed a resolution demanding the Centre to repeal Afspa from the entire north-eastern region, and specifically from Nagaland.

“The central government is of the opinion that the area comprising the whole of the state of Nagaland is in such a disturbed and dangerous condition that the use of armed forces in aid of the civil power is necessary,” the home ministry said in a notification issued on Thursday.

The previous extension was made on June 30.

Union home minister Amit Shah had on December 23 called a meeting in New Delhi to discuss the current scenario in the northeastern state. Nagaland chief ministers Neiphiu Rio and his deputy Y Patton, Assam CM Himanta Biswa Sarma and TR Zeliang of the Naga People’s Front attended the meeting.

The committee set up to review the imposition of Afspa in Nagaland is chaired by registrar general and census commissioner Vivek Joshi, and includes Nagaland chief secretary J Alam, Assam Rifles director general Lt Gen PC Nair, Nagaland director general of police T John Longkumer and Intelligence Bureau joint director MS Tuli.

Home ministry additional secretary Piyush Goyal is the member secretary and Lt Gen BS Raju, director general of military operations, is a special invitee. It is to make the recommendations within three months.

The Konyak Civil Society Organisation declared that the ‘extension of Afspa in Nagaland is a total violation of human rights. Adding salt to the wound, the declaration for extension of Afspa is a calculated sign that undermines human dignity and value while the Konyaks are crying for justice’. The body added the extension is an ‘act which is directly aimed at creating confusion and hurt among the Konyak Naga society at a time when emotions are running high’.

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