Guwahati: Welcoming the decision of the Centre of reducing the areas under the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (AFSPA), Assam Chief Minister Dr. Himanta Biswa Sarma said that 23 districts will be removed under the act with effect from April 1.
The Chief Minister, while addressing a press conference here today said that 60 percent of the areas of the state will now be free from the purview of AFSPA.
The centre has decided to withdraw the operation of the Act from 23 districts in view of the improved security scenario and law & order situation in the state. The districts will be free from the purview of the Act are- Dhemaji, Lakhimpur, Majuli, Biswanath, Sonitpur, Nagaon, Hojai, Morigaon, Kamrup (M), Darrang, Kamrup, Nalbari, Barpeta, Goalpara, Bongaigaon, Dhubri, South-Salmara, Mancachar, Kokrajhar, Chirang, Baksa, Udalguri, Karimganj, Hailakandi and one sub-division- headquarter sub-division of Cachar district except Lakhipur sub-division.
However, the Act will be in operation in 9 districts and one subdivision. The districts are- Tinsukia, Dibrugarh, Charaideo, Sivasagar, Jorhat, Golaghat, Karbi Anglong, West Karbi Anglong, Dima Hasao and Lakhipur sub-division of Cachar district.
Notably, the state of Assam was declared as Disturbed Area in the intervening night of November 27-28, 1990 under AFSPA to combat insurgency in the state.
After declaration of the state as ‘disturbed area’, a four-pronged strategy was adopted under Unified Command Structure viz CI Ops, Peace Overture, Surrender cum Rehabilitation and Psy Ops.
The law and order situation in many parts of the state is peaceful from the extremist point of view. At present, the army is deployed in five districts namely, Tinsukia, Dibrugarh, Charaideo, Karbi Anglong and Dima Hasao.
Earlier today, Union home minister Amit Shah informed that the Centre has decided to reduce disturbed areas under the AFSPA in the states of Nagaland, Assam and Manipur after decades.
Announcing the decision, Shah said that the reduction in areas under AFSPA is a result of the “improved security situation and fast-tracked development due to the consistent efforts and several agreements to end insurgency and bring lasting peace in Northeast by PM Narendra Modi”.
“Our Northeastern region, which was neglected for decades, is now witnessing a new era of peace, prosperity and unprecedented development,” he said.
The act empowers security forces to conduct operations anywhere and arrest anyone without any warrant. The act also gives a certain level of immunity to the security forces in case of an operation going wrong.