In a significant move, Union Government has removed Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (AFSPA) was completely from Meghalaya and partially revoked in Arunachal Pradesh by being reduced from 16 to eight police stations in the state.
According to a notification issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs, Tirap, Changlang and Longding districts of Arunachal Pradesh and eight police stations bordering Assam were declared “disturbed” areas under the AFSPA, 1958.
The eight police stations are Balemu and Bhalukpong police stations in West Kameng district, Seijosa police station in East Kameng district, Balijan police station in Papumpare district, Namsai and Mahadevpur police stations in Namsai district, Roing police station in Lower Dibang Valley district and Sunpura police station in Lohit district.
The Act has been removed from all areas of Meghalaya from 31 March and the decision has been taken due to a significant improvement of security situation in the state, a Home Ministry official said.
The Act gives special rights and immunity to security forces in carrying out various operations in “disturbed” areas. It gives security personnel the power to search premises and arrest without warrant, to use force even to the extent of causing death.
There have been demands from various organisations in the north-east as well as in Jammu and Kashmir for repealing the act, which, they say, gives “sweeping powers” to the security forces to act against “civilians”.