New Delhi, April 12: The union government has “silently extended” the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) to “entire state of Aruchal Pradesh” without consulting the state government and appears keen to deal with the insurgency in border areas on its own, state Chief minister bam Tuki has said.
Tuki said the central government could have tightened security in areas of the state that border galand and Assam instead of extending the “harsh act in the entire state.”
“The movement of insurgents is in these areas and not the mainland of Aruchal Pradesh,” Tuki told IANS in an interview during a visit here.
Tuki, who heads a Congress government in the state, said that there was an increase in the number of insurgent camps in areas bordering galand and Assam but there has not been any increase in insurgent activity in other parts of the state.
“Can the Centre know better than the state government?” he asked.
AFSPA has been in force in Tirap, Changlang and Longding districts of Aruchal Pradesh since 1991 after they were categorized as disturbed areas. It was subsequently extended to a 20-km belt in districts that share borders with Assam.
The Bharatiya Jata Party-led central government, in an order last month, extended the controversial AFSPA to other areas of Arunchal Pradesh.
Tuki, 51, who is into his second term as chief minister, said that it was due to efforts of his government that insurgent outfits such as tiol Socialist Council of galim (Issac-Muivah), United Liberation Front of Assam (Independent), tiol Democratic Front of Bodoland (NDFB) could not extend their reach in the state.
“The central government has not been able to understand that it is because of my government’s efforts that insurgency has not been able to reach the mainland Aruchal Pradesh from the bordering areas,” he said.
Tuki said “if the central government was aware of it, they would have have consulted Aruchal government (before extending AFSPA)”.
Tuki said he had got to know of the extension of AFSPA in his state through media reports.
“I met Home Minister Rajth Singh and urged him to reconsider it. It is the common people who will be affected. The central government should see the atmosphere in my state and then take a decision.”
Tuki, who attended the 64th plery meeting of the North East Council here, said that extension of AFSPA in the state has made people apprehensive.
“It has led to a panic among people and they fear that the situation will became similar to that in Manipur, where there have been several controversies regarding the AFSPA,” Tuki told IANS.
Asked about reasons for increase of camps in the bordering areas of Aruchal Pradesh, Tuki said that there were several reasons and both the state and Centre need to understand them in a spirit of mutual understanding.
“Aruchal Pradesh has been an island of peace. Never ever any insurgent group has emerged from the state. But several major and minor militant groups have indeed tried to infiltrate seeing the peaceful atmosphere in the state,” he said.
Tuki said the Centre should reconsider its decision on AFSPA.
“If they don’t, I will tell the home ministry about the consequent problems,” he said.
“I will wait for some time to see how the Centre deals with my request. I have to look after problems of my own people. I cannot allow them to face problems because of the Act,” he said. IANS