Government Declares Entire Nagaland ‘Disturbed Area’ for 6 more Months Under AFSPA Act 1958

Government Declares Entire Nagaland ‘Disturbed Area’ for 6 more Months Under AFSPA Act 1958

The Central government has declared the entire Nagaland as “disturbed area” for a period of six more months till December 2020.

♦What is this issue?

  • Under the AFSPA Act 1958, the whole Nagaland state has been declared a “disturbed area” for a further period of six months, till December 2020.
  • Home Ministry has released a notification stating that the decision was taken as various parts of the state is in a dangerous and disturbing condition, so the use of armed forces was necessary.
  • The AFSPA has been acting upon in Nagaland for around six decades.
  • A framework agreement was signed on August 3, 2015, by Naga insurgent group National Socialist Council of Nagaland-Isak Muivah [NSCN-IM] general secretary Thuingaleng Muivah and government interlocutor R N Ravi in presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Even after that, the act was not withdrawn.a

♦What is AFSPA?

  • Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA), 1958 was passed on September 11, 1958.
  • It provides the armed forces special power to maintain order and peace in the “disturbed areas” of North East states.
  • The Act was implemented because of the increasing violence in the North-eastern states decades ago.

♦Which states are under the AFSPA Act?

  • Entire Nagaland, Assam, Manipur (excluding municipal areas of Imphal) and parts of Arunachal Pradesh (Changlang, Tirap and Longding) and of the eight police stations in the districts of Arunachal Pradesh, bordering the State of Assam.

Note: Jammu and Kashmir has also a similar Act

♦Powers given to armed forces under this Act:

  • Arrest without a warrant for any suspect/people.
  • Any house/building can be searched without any warrant by Armed forces.
  • The authority to prohibit the gathering of five or more persons in an area is given to the armed forces.
  • If the Armed forces found any suspicious person, they can open fire on the disturbing factors after giving a due warning.
  • The armed forces are authorized to use force till the person’s death if that person is a repeated offender and tries to disturb the peace of any region/area.
  • On the suspicion that any offender or militant is hiding in any building/ house, then the house/building can be destroyed by the armed forces.
  • Any suspected Vehicle may be stopped and searched.
  • No legal action is taken against the special forces even in the case of wrongful action by the forces.

♦Process of declaring a Disturbed Area

  • By the notification under Section (3) of the AFSPA “disturbed area” is declared.
  • AFSPA can be invoked in regions where “the use of armed forces in aid of the civil power is necessary”, as per Section 3.
  • Due to disputes or differences between members of different religious, racial, language or regional groups or castes or communities, a region can be disturbed.
  • The whole or part of the State/Union Territory can be declared as a “disturbed area” by the Central Government/the Governor of the State/administrator of the Union Territory.
  • The MHA would usually enforce this Act where necessary, but there have been exceptions where the Centre decided to forego its power and leave the decision to the State governments.
  • Army/armed forces can be sent to the area only after the implementation of this law.
  • It is mandatory to seek the opinion of the state government that whether an area is disturbed or not, as per Section 3 of the AFSPA.
  • Disturbed area will be under the control of armed forces for at least 3 months if the area is declared as disturbed.

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