Guwahati, May 10: Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma recently announced that the state government is working to remove the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) from five more districts in Assam.

According to Sarma, the improved law and order situation in the state over the last two years has led to the decision to remove the AFSPA from 60% of the state and sign peace accords with several armed groups. The move has led to an atmosphere of peace in Assam.

Sarma stated that the initiatives taken by Prime Minister Narendra Modi have played a significant role in resolving boundary issues with Arunachal Pradesh and Meghalaya and signing peace agreements with several armed groups. He hopes that the AFSPA will be removed from five more districts by the end of this year.

AFSPA was removed from the entire state of Assam, barring nine districts and a sub-division of Cachar district, on April 1, 2022. Later, it was removed from the Lakhipur sub-division and West Karbi Anglong district. The state had been declared a ‘disturbed area’ under AFSPA since November 27-28, 1990, and it was extended every six months since then.

In addition to resolving boundary issues and signing peace agreements, the Assam government has taken steps to find an amicable solution to border issues with Mizoram and Nagaland.

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The state government will also establish five additional Prevention of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) courts and is considering setting up a dedicated judicial cadre of government-appointed Public Prosecutors and Additional Public Prosecutors.

The government will continue with its zero-tolerance policy towards drug trafficking. During the last two years, 5,659 cases have been registered under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act, and more than 5,431 drug traffickers have been arrested. The government plans to constitute a dog squad to detect drugs hidden in secret chambers of vehicles.

The Chief Minister also discussed the education sector, stating that the state will implement the New Education Policy (NEP) this year, with the four-year integrated degree course scheduled to begin.

Sarma believes that the AFSPA’s removal from the five additional districts will give a message of hope for the youth in the state, and it will be a step towards building a peaceful and prosperous Assam.