Union Home Minister Amit Shah declared on Thursday that the disturbed regions imposed under the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (AFSPA) in Nagaland, Assam, and Manipur will be reduced from April 1, after decades.
“In a significant step, GoI under the decisive leadership of PM Narendra Modi Ji has decided to reduce disturbed areas under Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) in the states of Nagaland, Assam and Manipur after decades,” the Home Minister tweeted.
He stated that the decline in AFSPA regions is due to increased security and rapid growth as a consequence of the government’s persistent efforts and multiple agreements to end insurgency and bring sustainable peace to the North East.
“Thanks to PM Narendra Modi Ji’s unwavering commitment, our North-Eastern region, which was neglected for decades is now witnessing a new era of peace, prosperity and unprecedented development,” Shah said.
“I congratulate the people of North East on this momentous occassion,” he added.
The decision was welcomed by chief minister of several states, including in Assam where the disturbed area notification is in force in entire state since 1990.
Taking to micro blogging platform, Assam chief minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said the move ‘marks the beginning of a new chapter in Assam’s future’. “It is a testimony to the significant improvement in law and order in the state. With peace getting primacy, the northeast is now on a new trajectory of growth and development,” he wrote.
“I also congratulate the people of Assam for their commitment to peace. The area is poised to become the new engine of India’s economy, thanks to PM Narendra Modi ji’s visionary leadership,” he added.
The chief minister said AFSPA would be reduced from all areas in Assam barring nine districts and one subdivision. “Around 60% of state’s area will now be free from AFSPA’s purview,” he said.
Manipur Chief Minister N Biren Singh described the decision as ‘historic’, saying it was the outcome of strong growth and enhanced security situation as a result of PM Modi’s northeast initiatives. Singh tweeted, “The decision will usher in a new age of peace, prosperity, and development in Manipur yet again.”
Singh also thanked Shah, saying he played a ‘crucial role (in) ending insurgency in the entire northeast’ and in bringing peace and development to the region. “Amit Shah ji will always have a special place in our hearts,” Singh added.
Nagaland chief minister Neiphiu Rio twetted, “Grateful to GoI under the leadership of Shri Narendra Modi ji & AmitShah ji for reducing disturbed areas under AFSPA in the states of Nagaland, Assam & Manipur. This is a significant development towards bringing stability, security & prosperity to the North East region.”
Under the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government, the insurgency in the northeast has decreased over the last seven years. According to data from the Indian Home Ministry, the number of insurgency-related occurrences in the northeast of the country declined from 1,749 in 1999 to 209 in 2021.
The AFSPA empowers security forces to conduct operations and arrest anyone without any prior warrant. It also gives immunity to the forces if they shoot someone dead.