Delhi: The Home Ministry in a gazatte notification on Monday removed the Armed Forces Special Powers Act, 1958, from Meghalaya and eight police stations in Arunachal Pradesh. Moreover, the Centre also relaxed rules for grant of restricted area permit to foreigners visiting Manipur, Mizoram and Nagaland. However, restrictions will remain for tourists from ‘countries of concern’ – Pakistan, Afghanistan and China. AFSPA gives full operational control to the Army to launch targeted strikes, arrest and frisk civilian citizens in areas declared “disturbed ” under the Act.
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.
On 2 April, Centre extended AFSPA in three districts of Arunachal Pradesh and eight police station areas bordering Assam by another six months,according to reports.
According to a notification issued by the Ministry of Home d, 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.
According to the reports Congress member of Parliament from Arunachal Pradesh Ninong Ering has been opposing the extension of the AFSPA in some parts of the state, saying it was “misused by the army”. Ering said that in the name of the Act, the army “harassed and tortured” villagers.
In March, Union minister Hansraj Gangaram Ahir had said that the government has no plans to withdraw or amend “the Armed Forces (Jammu and Kashmir) Special Powers Act, 1990”. Ahir, however, said in the Lok Sabha that a proposal is under consideration to make the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, 1958 more operationally effective and humane.