Union Government extends AFSPA for another one year in Assam

Union Government has extended the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, 1958 for another one year in Assam and has declared the entire ‘state of Assam’ as a ‘Disturbed Area’.

As per government notification, this extension will for another one year beyond 03 November 2014 which is presently in force.

Besides Assam, government has declared the area falling within 20 km wide belt along the border of Assam with Arunachal Pradesh and Meghalaya as Disturbed Area.

In these disturbed areas, Army is empowered to take action for counter Insurgency (CI) operations against the underground (UG) outfits under the provisions of AF (SP) Act, 1958.

Thus it seeks to control the violent incidents caused by the UGs which has direct disturbances to general law and order of the state.

Background

This extension comes after the law and order situation had worsen in the North eastern state of Assam and its border areas due to the violent incidents caused by the underground banned outfits like ULFA(I), NDFB(S), KPLT, UALA, NSCN(IM) and NSCN(K) etc.

Facts about Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, 1958

  • It was enacted by Parliament on September 11, 1958.
  • It conferred special powers upon the armed forces in disturbed areas in the states of Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, and Tripura. The act was introduced in Jammu and Kashmir in 1990.
  • AFSPA was enacted to provide army officers and jawans legal immunity for their actions in disturbed areas. Under this act, a member of the Indian armed forces cannot be prosecuted or tried in any criminal or civil court for any act committed by him or her while performing duty in a disturbed area. Moreover, no court or quasi-judicial body can question the government’s decision to declare any area disturbed.

The provisions of AFSPA are very objectionable as it requires the following:

  • All that is necessary for a part of the State to be handed over to the armed forces is for the Governor or the Central Government to notify it to be in a “disturbed and dangerous” condition.
  • Even a non-commissioned officer of the armed forces is free, on the mere suspicion of violation of the law or commission of an offence, to fire upon or otherwise use force, even to the causing of death, against any person.
  • He can also without any warrant, arrest any person and enter and search any premises.
  • No prosecution of anyone indulging in excesses purporting to act under AFSPA is possible except with the previous sanction of the Government.

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Categories: India Current Affairs 2017

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