Two weeks after the Central government scrapped the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) from Meghalaya and partly restricted it in Arunachal Pradesh, it emerged on Sunday that the Act is likely be revoked from two other North-eastern states–Assam and Nagaland if the situation improves.
The indication in this regard came from Union Minister and MoS (Home) Kiren Rijiju who said that the AFSPA, which gives special powers to security forces operating in conflict zones, may be withdrawn from areas where security situation improves.
The MoS Home said this while referring to states like Assam and Nagaland and J &K where the controversial Act is in force.
Referring to the situation in Nagaland, Rijiju said that the ongoing Naga peace talks between the NSCN-IM and the government’s interlocutor were being followed up with utmost sincerity and the outcome of the dialogue would be positive.
He, however, refused to give any time-frame for the signing of the peace pact.
“Since the security scenario in the Northeast has improved in the last four years, AFSPA has been removed from many areas. We are hopeful that with further improvement, it may be lifted from the remaining few areas in the near future, ” he said.
Referring to the ongoing dialogue between the Issak-Muivah faction of the National Socialist Council of Nagaland (NSCN-IM) and the government interlocutor, the Minister said the Narendra Modi government was the most sensitive toward the issues of the Nagas and the Northeast.
“The process of Naga talks is being followed up with utmost sincerity. So the outcome will be positive,” Rijiju said.
The remarks from MoS Home came days after the Centre government completely revoked the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act from Meghalaya and partly from Arunachal Pradesh.
”Union Home Ministry has removed Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (AFSPA) from Meghalaya and reduced it to eight police stations in Arunachal Pradesh, a senior Home Ministry official said.
“AFSPA was totally withdrawn from all areas of Meghalaya from April 1. In Arunachal, it is down from 16 police stations to eight,” the official added.