Although there has been demand for repeal of the Armed Forces Special Powers’ Act (AFSPA) from Assam, security agencies in Assam want the Act to continue at least for another year.
The demand for repeal of the AFSPA gained momentum in Assam particularly after the Act was withdrawn from Meghalaya and Tripura and partially withdrawn from Arunachal Pradesh and Manipur.
“There has been a blast in Assam last month. Eleven people including an MLA and his associates are killed in an ambush by armed militants in Arunachal Pradesh. These incidents indicate that there is still a need for the AFSPA in the region,” said a senior Army officer said this on Sunday while talking to Northeast Now.
The AFSPA was imposed in Assam when the state witnessed high insurgent activities during the 1990s.
The AFSPA allows the Army and other security forces to conduct operations and arrest anyone without any prior notice. There is, however, allegation that the infamous act is often misused by the security forces.
“There is information that recruitment of anti-talk faction of ULFA is on. The anti-talk faction of the NDFB has also been trying to recruit new cadres. Considering all these facts, I believe that the state police need Army as its capability to fight insurgents is yet to come and Army will need AFSPA to deal with militants especially in interstate border areas,” the Army officer said.
It may be mentioned that the Army is a part of the Unified Command Structure, prime counter insurgency strategy making body which also includes civil administration, police personnel and other security agencies.
The Army officer further said that the Army is also needed to tackle the situation that may arise after the publication of the final National Register of Citizens (NRC) in Assam, which is being updated.
“Although there is no intelligence input about any probable unrest after the publication of the final NRC, yet the help of the Army might be required to tackle the situation if there is a problem,” he said.
The Assam police also wanted the AFSPA to be continued for some more time across the state.
While the government has lifted AFSPA from Meghalaya and Tripura, the Act has been in force in Assam and Nagaland.
In Manipur, AFSPA is there in the state (excluding seven Assembly constituencies of Imphal) while in Arunachal Pradesh, the Act has been lifted from some areas.