Arunachal Pradesh Current Affairs - 2019
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The first vote for the upcoming Lok Sabha elections was cast in Arunachal Pradesh by service voters from a remote Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) unit located in the eastern tip of the state of Arunachal Pradesh.
Votes through postal ballots have been cast from Lohitpur for many constituencies in India and the ballot papers have been dispatched.
Who are Service Voters?
- Service voters are those who have service qualification and include members of Armed Forces of the Union of India, members of Armed Police forces of the States serving outside that state and persons employed under Government of India on posts outside India.
- They are provided with an option to cast the votes through postal ballots and send them to the returning officer of the constituency.
- A service voter can also cast his vote through a proxy. The proxy can cast the vote on behalf of the service personnel at the polling station.
- The proxy should be a registered voter of that constituency.
In cases of close contests, service voters play a crucial and decisive role.
The Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (AFSPA) was partially removed from three of nine districts of Arunachal Pradesh but would remain in force in the areas bordering Myanmar.
The State of Arunachal Pradesh had inherited AFSPA since the day of its formation. AFSPA enacted by Parliament in 1958 and was applied to the entire State of Assam and the Union Territory of Manipur. After Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya, Mizoram and Nagaland came into being, the Act was appropriately adapted to apply to these states as well.
Controversial Provisions of AFSPA
- Section 4 of the AFSPA empowers an authorised officer in a disturbed area with certain powers. The authorised officer has the power to open fire at any individual even if it results in death if the individual violates laws which prohibit (a) the assembly of five or more persons; or (b) carrying of weapons. However, the officer has to give a warning before opening fire.
- The authorised officer is also empowered to (a) arrest without a warrant; and (b) seize and search without any warrant any premise in order to make an arrest or recovery of hostages, arms and ammunition.
- AFSPA mentions that individuals who have been taken into custody have to be handed over to the nearest police station as soon as possible. There is no prescribed time limit for detention.
- Prosecution of an authorised officer requires prior permission of the Central government.
Observations made by Various Committees
Justice Santosh Hegde Committee found four out of six deaths it was inquiring in Manipur have similar patterns of cause of death and could be cases of fake encounters.
Justice Santosh Hegde Committee report also concluded that AFSPA has not been able to achieve peace in the Northeast, and on the contrary, it has widened the distance between the people of these areas and the mainland.
J.S. Verma Committee (2012) and the Justice Jeevan Reddy Committee (2005) have found the law arbitrary and have recommended the repeal of AFSPA.
Tags: AFSPA • Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act • Arunachal Pradesh • Assam • J.S. Verma Committee • Justice Jeevan Reddy Committee • Justice Santosh Hegde Committee • Manipur • Meghalaya • Mizoram • Myanmar • Nagaland