With insurgency-related incidents in the northeast region down by 85% from the levels recorded at the peak of militancy two decades ago, the central government has withdrawn the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) totally from Meghalaya.
Considered draconian by many, it has also been removed from eight out of 16 police stations in Arunachal Pradesh, with effect from March 31, 2018.
AFSPA, which gives special powers and immunity to the armed forces deployed in areas declared “disturbed” under the Act, had been in force in Meghalaya and Arunachal Pradesh for almost 27 years.
As per Union home ministry, areas of the two states bordering Assam were declared disturbed back in 1991 to avoid a spillover effect of insurgency by Assam-based outfits like the United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA).
In 2015, the Tripura government had lifted AFSPA from the state after 18 years.
The Armed Forces Special Powers Act will now be in force in the whole of Assam and Nagaland, all of Manipur (except Imphal municipal area) and in three districts and eight police station areas of Arunachal Pradesh.
Nagaland has been under AFSPA for almost six decades.
With insurgency levels in Assam too at a record low, the state government is expected to decide soon on withdrawal of AFSPA from some districts.