New Delhi: The Union Ministry of Home Affairs has declared entire Nagaland as a “disturbed area” for six more months till December 31 this year, under the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (AFSPA) that empowers security forces to conduct operations anywhere and arrest anyone without prior notice.
While Nagaland became a separate state in 163, the AFSPA has been in force in northeast since 1958.
In a notification issued on Wednesday, the MHA said the government was of the opinion that the area comprising the whole state of Nagaland was in such a “disturbed and dangerous condition” that the use of armed forces in aid of the civil power was necessary.
“Now, therefore, in exercise of the powers conferred by Section 3 of the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, 1958 (No 28 of 1958), the Central government hereby declares that whole of the state of Nagaland to be ‘disturbed area’ for a period of six months with effect from June 30 for the purpose of the said Act,” the notification said.
In a similar order on December 30 last year, the MHA extended AFSPA in Nagaland for six months.
There have been demands from various organisations in the Northeast as well as in Jammu and Kashmir for repealing the AFSPA, which, they allege, gives “sweeping powers” to security forces.
The AFSPA has not been withdrawn even after a framework agreement was signed on August 3, 2015 by Naga insurgent group NSCN-IM General Secretary Thuingaleng Muivah and government interlocutor R.N. Ravi in the presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
The framework agreement came after over 80 rounds of negotiations spanning 18 years, with the first breakthrough in 1997 when the ceasefire agreement was sealed after decades of insurgency in Nagaland.