Assam has further extended the existing "disturbed area" status of the state for another six months from August 28 under the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (AFSPA).
"The Government of Assam in the exercise of powers conferred by Section 3 of the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, 1958 has declared the entire State of Assam as "Disturbed Area" up to six months with effect from 28-08-2021 unless withdrawn earlier," said an official statement. The government press release did not cite any particular reason for the extension.
The AFSPA was first imposed in Assam in November 1990 and has been extended every six months since then after review by the state government.
In 1990, AFSPA came into force in Assam due to the heavy insurgency activities that killed many people. Kidnapping and extortion were common during those days. Security forces conducted major operations against the groups in those days to neutralise the rebel outfit.
In the Northeast, the AFSPA is in force in Assam, Nagaland, Manipur (excluding Imphal Municipal Council Area), Changlang, Longding and Tirap districts of Arunachal Pradesh, and areas falling within the jurisdiction of the eight police stations of districts in Arunachal Pradesh bordering Assam.
The AFSPA was introduced in the north-eastern states to curb insurgency. It allows the armed forces to maintain public order in "disturbed areas". The armed forces can also restrict the gathering of five or more persons in an area. They can warn a person for breaking a law and open fire or use force in case of non-compliance.
Civil society groups and rights activists in the region have been demanding withdrawal of the allegedly "draconian" law.