Guwahati: The Centre on Saturday reduced the disturbed areas under the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (AFSPA) in Nagaland, Assam and Manipur with effect from April 1, 2023.
Union Home Minister Amit Shah said that the decision was taken in view of the significant improvement in the security situation in the region.
Shah stated that peace has significantly returned to the region after several peace accords were implemented in the Northeastern states in the past four years as a result of which, most of the militant organizations have laid down their arms.
A statement from the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) stated that around 7,000 insurgents, belonging to various militant organizations, have joined the mainstream since 2014.
It also stated that the MHA has signed several historic agreements in the past four years which have resolved the decades-old problems of the Northeastern region.
Due to the improvement in the security situation, the disturbed area notification under AFSPA was completely withdrawn from Tripura in 2015 and Meghalaya in 2018, the MHA statement stated.
The MHA statement further stated that the disturbed areas notification was in force throughout the state of Assam since 1990.
As a result of significant improvement in the security situation, the disturbed areas under AFSPA were removed from the entire state except nine districts and one sub-division of another district with effect from 1 April 2022, and from April 1, 2023, it has been reduced to only nine districts.
On the other hand, the disturbed area declaration under AFSPA has been in operation since 2004. However, the Central government removed the disturbed area notification from 15 police station areas of six districts from April 1, 2022, and now the disturbed area notification under AFSPA is being withdrawn from four other police stations from April 1, 2023, the MHA statement added.
The MHA said that altogether 19 police stations in seven districts of Manipur have been removed from the disturbed area notification under AFSPA.
In the state of Nagaland, the disturbed areas notification was applicable in the entire state since 1995. However, the disturbed area notification was withdrawn from 15 police stations of seven districts of Nagaland with effect from April 1, 2022, the MHA said.
The MHA statement also said that it is further being withdrawn from three other police stations with effect from April 1, 2023.
With these, a total of 18 police stations in eight districts of Nagaland are being removed from the disturbed area notification under AFSPA.
Union Home Minister Amit Shah thanked Prime Minister Narendra Modi and expressed his gratitude for ushering in peace and positive change in the lives of the people of the Northeast.
“This decision has been taken in view of the significant improvement in the security situation in Northeast India. Prioritizing the security, peace and development of the Northeast was done for the first time under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, as a result of it; the region today is rapidly heading on the path of peace and development, ” Shah said.
“I express my gratitude to Prime Minister Modi ji for bringing this positive change in the lives of the people of Northeast and connecting the region with the hearts of rest of India and I greet the people of Northeast on this momentous occasion,” he added.
As compared to the year 2014, there is a reduction of 76 per cent in extremist activities in 2022. Similarly, the deaths of security personnel and civilians have come down by 90 per cent and 97 per cent respectively during this period.