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Centre extends AFSPA in eights districts of Nagaland for six months | Know why

In a notification, the MHA extended the AFSPA in eight districts of Nagaland and some police stations of other five districts for another six months. The government had extended the AFSPA in September last year.

Ashesh Mallick Edited By: Ashesh Mallick @asheshmallick07 Kohima Updated on: March 28, 2024 15:12 IST
AFSPA, Nagaland, MHA
Image Source : ANI Representative Image

The Centre has extended the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, 1958, in eight districts and 21 police stations in five other districts of Nagaland, declaring them as “disturbed area” for another six months. The order will come in effect from April 1 till September 30 this year, unless withdrawn earlier. The central government had previously extended the AFSPA in Nagaland and Arunachal Pradesh in September last year. The Home Ministry made the latest announcement on the matter in a notification stating that the AFSPA has been extended for next six months in Dimapur, Niuland, Chumoukedima, Mon, Kiphire, Noklak, Phek and Peren districts of Nagaland.

Areas where AFSPA has been extended in Nagaland

Besides these eight districts, AFSPA has also been extended in the areas falling under the jurisdiction of 21 police stations in five districts of the northeastern state – six police stations each in Zunheboto and Mokokchung districts; five police stations in Kohima; three police stations in Wokha; and Yanglok police station in Longleng district.

The 21 police stations where AFSPA has been extended include Khuzama, Kohima North, Kohima South, Zubza and Kezocha police stations in Kohima district; Mangkolemba, Mokokchung-I, Longtho, Tuli, Longchem and Anaki 'C' police stations in Mokokchung district; Yanglok police station in Longleng district; Bhandari, Champang and Ralan police stations in Wokha district; and Ghatashi, Pughoboto, Satakha, Suruhuto, Zunheboto and Aghunato police stations in Zunheboto district.

Why did the Centre take the step?

The central government took the step of extending AFSPA after a review of the law and order situation in the state. The MHA had considerably reduced the “disturbed areas” in Nagaland, Manipur and Assam on April 1, 2022. The AFSPA was applicable in the entire state of Nagaland since 1995. The notification regarding the AFSPA can be issued by both the state and central governments. The MHA issues “disturbed areas” notifications periodically to extend the AFSPA only for Nagaland and Arunachal Pradesh.

What does the Supreme Court say on AFSPA?

According to a Supreme Court judgement in a 1998 Naga People's Movement of Human Rights vs Union of India case, the Central government can make a suo-moto declaration of the Act in consultation with the state government before making a decision. The court also said that the declaration of the Act should be for a limited duration and the government has to make a periodic review of the declaration.

Why AFSPA in Nagaland?

The AFSPA Bill was passed in the Parliament and was approved by the President on September 11, 1958. The Act came into force in the context of increasing violence in the North-eastern states decades ago when the then state governments found it difficult to control.

When the AFSPA is imposed, it gives the armed forces the power to look after and maintain public order in the “disturbed areas”. As an armed movement took root in Nagaland, AFSPA was imposed in the whole of the state in 1995.

The AFSPA empowers security forces to arrest a person without a warrant, enter or search premises without a warrant along with some other actions.

ALSO READ | Centre to consider revoking AFSPA, plans to pull back troops from Jammu and Kashmir: Amit Shah

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