Entire Nagaland has been declared as "disturbed area" for six more months under the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, which empowers security forces to conduct operations anywhere without any prior notice. In a gazette notification, the Union Home Ministry said it is of the opinion that the area comprising the whole of Nagaland is in such a "disturbed and dangerous condition" that the use of armed forces in aid of the civil power is necessary.
"Now, therefore, in exercise of the powers conferred by Section 3 of the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, 1958, the central government hereby declares that whole of the said state to be a 'disturbed area' for a period of six months with effect from 30th June, 2017 for the purpose of that Act," joint secretary in the home ministry Satyendra Garg said.
Official sources said killings, loot and extortion have been going in various parts of Nagaland leading to the extension of the "disturbed area" in the northeastern state for six more months beginning June 30 under the AFSPA.
There have been demands from various organisations in the Northeast as well as in Jammu and Kashmir for repealing the controversial AFSPA, which, they say, gives "sweeping powers" to the security forces to act against "civilians".
The AFSPA has been in force in Nagaland for several decades. It has not been withdrawn even after a framework agreement was signed on August 3, 2015 by Naga insurgent group NSCN-IM general secretary Thuingaleng Muivah and the government's interlocutor R N Ravi in presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
The framework agreement came after over 80 rounds of negotiations spanning 18 years with the first breakthrough in 1997 when the ceasefire agreement was sealed after decades of insurgency in Nagaland.