NEW DELHI: Following a decision from the Centre, Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) is to be extended in three districts of Arunachal Pradesh, along with nine districts of Nagaland for six months, effective from October 1 2022.
The development comes to light as a notification issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) stated the decision for the extension of AFSPA in three Arunachal Pradesh districts. These districts are Tirap, Changlang and Longding. The extension will last till March 30, 2023.
Additionally, the extension of AFSPA by the government also comprises of the areas within the Namsai jurisdiction and Mahadevpur police stations in Arunachal Pradesh. Along with that, AFSPA will be deployed in nine Nagaland districts for a period of six months.
The AFSPA is active in most of the Northeast region, except in Assam, where it has been withdrawn. Activists have been demanding the repeal of the law for a long time. It grants special powers to the armed forces in areas where they are deployed.
The powers that the armed forces receive through AFSPA allow them to prohibit a gathering comprising of 5 or more than 5 people in a "disturbed area". With AFSPA's powers security personnel can use force and even open fire, subsequent to a warning, in the case of a breach of law and order.
The powers that AFSPA confers to armed forces are also inclusive of opening fire upon anyone who is acting against law and order, arresting anyone without a warrant, stopping and searching any vehicle or vessel, and prohibiting a gathering of five or more people. Possession of firearms by civilians is also banned under The AFSPA also banned possession of firearms by civilians. The law also gives special power to non-commissioned officers.
There have been numerous allegations of "fake encounters" and human rights violations by the security forces with the use of special powers in the "disturbed" areas.