Guwahati: The ‘disturbed area’ notification under the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) has been extended by the Assam Government for another six months. But the AFSPA will be valid in only eight districts of the State from April 1, 2023.
The disturbed area tag has been extended for the upper Assam district of Tinsukia, Dibrugarh, Charaideo, Sivasagar, Jorhat, Golaghat and hill districts Karbi Anglong and Dima Hasao, according to a notification issued by the State home and political department, released to the media on March 29. The upper Assam districts where the AFSPA will remain valid have some presence of the banned outfit ULFA (I). The two hill districts adjacent to Nagaland and groups of Naga militants have some presence in the dense forests of the districts.
However, the ‘disturbed area’ tag will be lifted from the Lakhipur sub-division of Cachar district in southern Assam from April 1, following a review of the law and order and security scenario in the State.
The centre had earlier announced the removal of AFSPA from April 1, 2022, from the entire State of Assam, barring nine districts and a sub-division of Cachar district. The State was declared a ‘disturbed area’ under AFSPA during the intervening night of November 27-28, 1990, during the pick of the ULFA insurgency movements. Thereafter this has been extended every six months. It was last extended for six months in October 2022 when the Act was withdrawn from West Karbi Anglong district.
The Central Government has further decided to reduce the disturbed areas under the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) in Nagaland, Assam and Manipur. Home Minister Amit Shah on March 27 said that this decision had been taken in view of the significant improvement in the security situation in North-East India.
According to Home Ministry data, there is a reduction of 76 per cent in extremist incidents in 2022 in comparison to the situation in 2014. The deaths of security personnel have come down by 90 per cent, and the deaths of civilians have come down by 97 per cent during the last eight years.