Published On: Tue, Aug 15th, 2023

Assam mulls full withdrawal of AFSPA by year-end: Himanta Biswa Sarma

Guwahati: Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma on Tuesday said his government will take necessary steps to withdraw AFSPA from the entire state by the end of this year.

The northeast region is now free from terrorism

The Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, 1958 (AFSPA) is now limited to only eight districts of the northeastern state, he said.

Hoisting the national flag on the occasion of the 77th Independence Day here, Sarma also said around 8,000 “revolutionaries” have returned to the mainstream in the last three years.

“I want to assure the people of Assam that by the end of this year, we will take fruitful steps to withdraw the AFSPA from every district of Assam. That will be an ‘amritmoy’ time for Assam’s history and we are eagerly waiting for that day,” he said.

Since the beginning of its application in the state more than three decades ago, the extension of the AFSPA was recommended 62 times, Sarma said.

“The northeast region is now free from terrorism. In the last three years, four peace accords have been signed with revolutionaries of Assam and around 8,000 revolutionaries have returned to the mainstream,” he said.

The Assam government extended the ‘disturbed area’ notification under the AFSPA for another six months in eight districts with effect from April 1.

The ‘disturbed area’ tag was extended in Tinsukia, Dibrugarh, Charaideo, Sivasagar, Jorhat, Golaghat, Karbi Anglong and Dima Hasao.

The AFSPA was first imposed in Assam in November 1990 and has been extended every six months since then after a review by the state government.

It empowers security forces to conduct operations anywhere and arrest anyone without any prior warrant.

The AFSPA also gives a certain level of immunity to the security forces in case of an operation going wrong.

Civil society groups and rights activists have been demanding the withdrawal of the “draconian law” from the entire North East, claiming a violation of human rights by the armed forces.

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