Meghalaya High Court has asked Central Government to enforce Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (AFSPA), 1958 in militancy-hit Garo Hills region of the state.
The order was issued by a full 3 bench of the High Court comprising Chief Justice Uma Nath Singh, Justice T N K Singh and Justice S R Sen while hearing on pending cases of militants calling bandhs in the state.
The Court observed that
- Central government can enforce AFSPA in Garo Hills region in order to deploy armed forces to aid of civil administration to restore public order and maintain the law and order.
- The imposition of AFSPA would be only for the purpose of enabling the civil authorities in the state to effectively deal with militancy so that there is a regime of rule of law.
- Recently the Meghalaya state is witnessing a rise in number of militancy incidents in the region especially in Garo Hills including abduction of a Megahalya Government Officials by Garo National Liberation Army militants.
- Though in past decade the insurgency was more or less contained in the state, but in last 2 years there has been a rise in the number of violence as several dormant insurgent groups in state started resurfacing.
About Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, 1958
- Empowers armed forces to deal effectively in ‘Disturbed Areas’ declared by both state and Central government.
- Parliament had enacted it in 1958 to provide special legal security to the armed forces for carrying out operations in the troubled areas of 7 sisters states of North east.
- The act was extended to Jammu and Kashmir in 1990 in order to confront the rising insurgency in the area.
- The act provides army officers and jawans legal immunity for their actions undertaken disturbed areas.