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Setback for CM Neiphiu Rio, Centre extends AFSPA in Nagaland for 6 months

The Armed Forces Special Protection Act (AFSPA) has been extended in Nagaland for 6 months till June 30, 2022.

Centre extends AFSPA in Nagaland for 6 months, state declared disturbed area-dnm
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New Delhi, First Published Dec 30, 2021, 9:04 AM IST
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The Ministry of Home Affairs extended the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act in Nagaland for another six months. Earlier, the Nagaland government had suggested repealing the AFSPA in the state and the Union Home Ministry had formed a panel to look into it.

The decision also comes at a time when the army is conducting a court of inquiry into a botched Para Special Forces encounter on December 4 in which 14 civilians who were returning from a mine at night were shot dead. A soldier lost his life in subsequent protest and arson by angry villagers.

According to a notification by the MHA, the Centre declared the entire state of Nagaland as a ‘disturbed area’ under AFSPA for 6 more months until June 30, 2022, stating that Nagaland’s “disturbed and dangerous condition” necessitated the use of armed forces in aid of civil power. The Army has also agreed to give access to Nagaland’s Special Investigation Team, or SIT, to record the statements of soldiers who were involved in the ambush on December 4.

Weeks after the botched operation, on December 20, the Nagaland Assembly had passed a resolution unanimously to demand a repeal of AFSPA from the northeast. Earlier this week, Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio had informed media persons after a meeting with Union Home Minister Amit Shah that a committee shall be formed to look into the withdrawal of the controversial law. The committee was to submit its report within 45 days. The chief minister had said that the withdrawal of AFSPA will be based on the committee's recommendations.

The Centre has repeatedly enforced the AFSPA in Nagaland, terming it as a disturbed area. The AFSPA gives the armed forces sweeping powers to operate freely, carry out arrests without warrant and immunity from being prosecuted unless sanctioned by the Centre. The other states in the Northeast that are under AFSPA are Arunachal Pradesh, Assam and Manipur

Following the December 4 incident, Neiphiu Rio had questioned the need for Nagaland to be under AFSPA considering that a framework agreement had been signed between Naga insurgent groups and government interlocutor RN Ravi in the presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2015. The chief minister had questioned the 'disturbed state' status for Nagaland.

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