Security sources said that the Assam govt had extended its term through an executive order and informed all the security agencies operating.
Guwahati: After the Centre turned it down, the Assam government on Thursday, for the first time, extended the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (AFSPA) for another six months, thereby declaring the entire state as a “disturbed area”.
Disclosing that the Government of India, after thoroughly reviewing the overall law and order situation, had turned down the state government’s plea to extend it after August 31, security sources said that the Assam government had on Tuesday extended its term through an executive order and informed all the security agencies operating in the state.
Noting that the AFSPA was promulgated in Assam in November 1990 by the Centre and the entire state was declared a “disturbed area” as the activities of Ulfa were at their peak, the sources said this time the Centre was not keen to extend AFSPA across the entire state.
It is significant that AFSPA was lifted from Punjab in 1997 and Tripura removed it in 2015, whereas Maoist-infested states like Jharkhand and Uttarakhand are handling law and order without using AFSPA.
The stringent law, which grants extraordinary powers and immunity to the armed forces to bring back order in the disturbed areas, has been a major area of concern for human rights activists in the Northeast. At present, it is in force in Jammu and Kashmir and six Northeast states — Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram and Nagaland.
The security sources said even at present, the Army is not operating in the state’s peaceful districts, including Kamrup (Metro), and over the years different Central agencies, including the Intelligence Bureau, have said there was no need to declare the entire state “disturbed” due to the improvement of the overall situation. But in the past few years, the state government has maintained a double standard on the issue. On one hand, it claims that the law and order situation had improved, but at the same time it requested the Centre to extend AFSPA’s term.