AFSPA Extended in Nagaland, Arunachal Pradesh

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    In News

    • The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has extended the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (AFSPA) in parts of Arunachal Pradesh and Nagaland for another six months.

    About

    • Tirap, Changlang and Longding districts in Arunachal Pradesh and the areas  along the Assam border, are declared as “disturbed areas” under Section 3 of the AFSPA 1958 for a period of six months from October 1,2022.
    • In Tripura the Act was revoked by the MHA in 2015 and in Meghalaya from 1st April 2018. 

    About Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act 1958

    • Genesis:
      • The genesis of the law can be traced to the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Ordinance 1942 which was enacted by the British to subjugate the rebels in the country during the Quit India movement, particularly in Assam and Bengal .
      • The law continues to be enforced in its new format as the Armed Forces  
    • Provisions: 
      • Under Section 3, the Central Government or the Governor of the State or administrator of the Union Territory can declare the whole or part of the State or Union Territory as a disturbed area. 
      • An area can be disturbed due to differences or disputes between members of different religious, racial, language or regional groups or castes or communities. 
      • Section 4 gives the Army powers to search premises and make arrests without warrants, to use force even to the extent of causing death, destroy arms/ammunition dumps, fortifications/shelters/hideouts and to stop, search and seize any vehicle.
      • Section 6 stipulates that arrested persons and the seized property are to be made over to the police with the least possible delay.
      • Section 7 offers protection of persons acting in good faith in their official capacity. The prosecution is permitted only after the sanction of the Central Government.

    Rationale behind its imposition

    • Effective functioning of forces in counter-insurgency / terrorist operations.
    • Protection of members of Armed forces.
    • Maintaining Law & Order
    • Security & sovereignty of the nation.

    Criticisms

    • Atrocities and human rights violations by security agencies.
    • Against democratic regime & threat to Fundamental Rights
    • Ineffectiveness in countering insurgency.
    • Fake encounters (Santosh Hegde Committee) & create an atmosphere of impunity among security agencies. 

    Source:TH