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Expanding AFSPA in Aruchal

Sentinel Digital DeskBy : Sentinel Digital Desk

  |  10 April 2015 12:00 AM GMT

Aruchal Pradesh is in shock over the Centre’s move to extend the controversial Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) to 12 of its 19 districts, with Chief Minister bam Tuki registering strong protest in Delhi. So far, the AFSPA had been in force in only three districts Tirap, Changlang and Longding, declared as disturbed due to the activities of the NSCN factions. But recently after the Centre notified 12 Aruchal districts bordering Assam as ‘disturbed areas’, it was only a matter of time before AFSPA was promulgated to give security forces a free hand in its drive against the NDFB(S) ultras, as well as to counter the increasing movement of anti-talk outfits like the ULFA(I) and the Isaac-Muivah and Khaplang factions of the NSCN. These rebel groups had shifted base from the India-Myanmar border to the Taga region in Chi-Myanmar border, slipping into Chinese territory whenever apprehending attacks by the Myanmarese army or special operations by Indian commandos. With Chi maintaining a hardline on the issue of the boundary question in the eastern sector, Maoist groups too are reportedly trying to set up camps in the Aruchal-Chi border. In the backdrop of all these worrying developments, the Centre will do well to remember that it cannot afford to make the same mistakes with AFSPA in Aruchal as it has done with Manipur. With Beijing continuing to claim Aruchal as ‘Southern Tibet’, this NE state is even more sensitive than Manipur where Irom Sharmila’s long fast has galvanised human rights groups. The NDA government’s difficulties with the AFSPA in Jammu & Kashmir is relevant here, with the Mufti Muhammad Sayeed government pressing for its phased withdrawal despite the recent series of militant attacks in that state.

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