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Sigh of relief over partial lifting of AFSPA

Our correspondent
Itanagar, Apr 24: Political parties in Arunachal Pradesh have differed in their views of partial lifting of the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (AFSPA) from the State.
The AFSPA, which empowers security forces to conduct operations with absolute immunity and  arrest anyone anywhere without prior notice, has been removed from all areas of Meghalaya and partially in Arunachal Pradesh from March 31.
In Arunachal Pradesh, areas under the controversial Act have been reduced from 16 police stations areas bordering Assam to eight police stations besides Tirap, Changlang and Longding districts.
The ruling BJP in the State is of the opinion that the Centre should study the ground situation in the State and if permissible, should lift the Act for peace and tranquility.
“It is a Central subject and the Centre can decide to lift the Act after studying the ground realities as the activities of anti-national elements in North East cannot be ignored. The Centre, after going through the ground realities, should lift the Act for public convenience from those areas where such activities have stopped,” State unit of BJP president Tapir Gao said.
Demanding for total lifting of the Act, Arunachal Pradesh Congress Committee (APCC) President Takam Sanjoy said he wants lifting of the controversial Act once and for all.
“If the Centre can lift the Act from Meghalaya it can do so in Arunachal Pradesh as no terrorist activities has been reported from the State for the last several years? There are other laws to deal with such activities and the controversial Act will jeopardize public peace in the relatively peaceful State,” Sanjoy added.
The former MP further said the Act is not relevant to a State like Arunachal and the Home Ministry had arbitrarily extended the Act at a time when the Naga rebel groups are engaged in peace talks. “This Act should be immediately lifted from all areas of the State without any question,” Sanjoy added. Peoples’ Party of Arunachal (PPA) President Kahfa Bengia is, however, of the view that the Act should be lifted from all police stations areas in the State except the districts of Tirap, Changlang and Longding. “The Home Ministry should study the ground situation in the remaining eight police stations areas and lift the Act accordingly,” Bengia added.