The BJP-led government in Assam has extended the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (AFSPA) in the state for six more months beyond August 28, an official statement said on Saturday. The statement did not clarify any ground for the extension of AFSPA in the northeastern state.
"The Government of Assam in exercise of powers conferred by Section 3 of the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, 1958 has declared the entire state of Assam as 'Disturbed Area' up to six months with effect from 28-08-2021 unless withdrawn earlier," the statement said.
According to an official in the state Home Department, the anti-terror act, which gives special powers to the Army and the para-military forces, was imposed in Assam in November 1990 and has been extended every six months since then after a review by the state's law enforcing agencies.
"The unified command structure comprising the Army, various central paramilitary and intelligence agencies and Assam Police always closely monitor the situation in Assam," the official said.
Various political parties, organisations and civil society groups and activists have been demanding the removal of the "draconian law" from the northeastern states.
The AFSPA, which allows the Army and other paramilitary forces to conduct raids, and arrest anyone anywhere without prior notice or arrest warrant, has also been in force in entire Nagaland, certain districts of Arunachal Pradesh and most parts of Manipur barring the Imphal municipal areas.
Security agencies and senior officials review the situation every six months to decide on its extension.
Terming the AFSPA as a "draconian law", human rights activist Irom Chanu Sharmila of Manipur had fought for 16 long years till mid 2016, demanding its repeal.
Tripura is the only state in the northeastern region where AFSPA was withdrawn in May 2015 by the then Left Front government led by Chief Minister Manik Sarkar after terror activities came down.