Sunday 23 January 2022
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AFSPA in Nagaland extended for 6 months

The Nagaland Assembly had resolved to demand a repeal of AFSPA, following the incident of civilians killed due to what the army calls 'mistaken identity'

The union government has declared the entire state of Nagaland as a ‘disturbed area’ and extended the Armed Forces Special Power Act, 1958 (AFSPA) in the state for another six months. Extending the Act till 30 June 2022, the Narendra Modi government said that Nagaland’s “disturbed and dangerous condition” necessitated the use of armed forces in aid of civil power.

The Indian is currently conducting a court of inquiry into an ambush that went wrong on 4 December, leading to the loss of lives of several civilians.

Days after it formed a panel to review AFSPA in Nagaland, the union government made the declaration stating that Nagaland’s “disturbed and dangerous condition” necessitates the use of armed forces in aid of civil power.

The union government had formed a seven-member committee to suggest withdrawal of the AFSFA from Nagaland and asked to submit its report within three months. The union government on 26 December constituted the panel, headed by a secretary-rank officer, to examine the possibility of lifting the controversial Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act in the state, apparently to soothe the rising tension in the northeastern state over the killing of 14 civilians.

On 20 December, the Nagaland Assembly had unanimously resolved to demand a repeal of AFSPA from the Northeast, especially the state. A five-member committee was formed under top official Vivek Joshi to examine the possibility of withdrawal of AFSPA from Nagaland.

Meanwhile, the special investigation team (SIT), set up by the Nagaland government to probe the botched operation by 21 Para-Special Forces in the state, will start questioning the officers and soldiers involved in the incident from Thursday at Jorhat in Assam. The SIT is expected to submit its report next month.

The army agreed to give access to Nagaland’s SIT.

The AFSPA has been extended every six months for several years in Nagaland, which has long remained a “disturbed area”. Declaring a place “disturbed area” is the first requirement for imposing AFSPA, a law that has roots in the colonial era and which was used to crush protests.

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