Assam Government Extends AFSPA Again for 6 Months, Now Under AFSPA for 30 Years

The first time AFSPA was imposed on the state was in 1990, in order to control the activities of the ULFA. It has been continuing since then, with law enforcing agencies and senior security officials reviewing the situation every six months and deciding to extend the AFSPA.

assap afspa
Courtesy: The Hindu

The BJP-led Assam government has extended AFSPA in the state for another six months, starting from August 28. Assam’s term of its declared status as a ‘disturbed area’ ends on August 27.

Yesterday, the state government declared Assam to be a ‘disturbed area’ for six more months under the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, 1958. The notification by the government stated the reason for this declaration as “recent insurgent attacks on security forces in the northeast and recovery of illegal arms and ammunition from different areas of Assam”.

Assam’s present term as a disturbed area was declared in March last year, on grounds that armed outfits may lure youths opposing the Citizenship Amendment Act into joining their groups.

While earlier the application of AFSPA in Assam was decided by the Centre, in 2017, the power to decide further extension of the imposition of the Act on the state was transferred to the State Government.

The first time AFSPA was imposed on the state was in 1990, in order to control the activities of the United Liberation Front of Assam (ULFA). It has been continuing since then, with law enforcement agencies and senior security officials reviewing the situation every six months and deciding to extend the AFSPA.

The AFSPA gives armed forces the power to maintain public order in disturbed areas. It applies to the seven northeastern states and Jammu and Kashmir. Originally promulgated during colonial rule to suppress the Quit India Movement, this act gives security forces the power to search properties without a warrant, to arrest people, and to use deadly force if there is “reasonable suspicion” that a person is acting against the state.

Under Section 6 of the Act, armed personnel cannot be challenged in the court of law for all these acts, and hence armed Forces have misused this section on various occasions, including for immense human rights violations such as brutal torture, unlawful arrests, sexual violence, and rape.

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