Afspa Assam

Guwahati, May 23: In a promising development for the state of Assam, Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma has revealed plans to potentially lift the controversial Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (Afspa) from the remaining districts by December.

The Afspa grants extensive powers to central security personnel engaged in counter-insurgency operations. The law has been a subject of debate and criticism due to concerns over human rights violations and excessive use of power.

CM Sarma emphasized that the eight districts and one subdivision where the Afspa is still in effect have displayed consistent improvements in maintaining law and order since the last review. These districts include Tinsukia, Dibrugarh, Charaideo, Sivasagar, Jorhat, Golaghat, Karbi Anglong, Dima Hasao, and the Lakhipur subdivision of the Cachar district. These areas share borders with Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, and Manipur.

It is worth noting that the Assam government had already revoked the Afspa from 23 districts and one subdivision, effective from April 1 of the previous year. This step was taken to reflect the progress made in ensuring stability and security in those regions. Moreover, Tripura, Meghalaya, and Mizoram, among other northeastern states, have already abolished Afspa, signifying positive developments in the region.

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Initially implemented to combat insurgency and maintain public order in conflict-affected regions, Afspa has faced criticism for granting immunity to security personnel, potentially leading to instances of abuse and injustice.

The potential withdrawal of Afspa from the remaining districts in Assam represents a significant stride towards restoring normalcy and civilian control in these areas. It showcases the state government’s confidence in the improving law and order situation and their commitment to protecting the rights and welfare of citizens.

While the final decision on lifting the Afspa lies with the central government, the state government’s recommendation based on the positive developments is expected to hold considerable weight in the decision-making process. This development will be closely monitored and appreciated by advocates of human rights, as well as those seeking a peaceful resolution to conflicts.

The withdrawal of Afspa should be seen as a crucial opportunity to strengthen the rule of law, promote dialogue, and address the underlying issues contributing to unrest in the region. It is essential to ensure that adequate measures are in place to safeguard the security of civilians and maintain peace during the transition.

As the process unfolds, it is anticipated that stakeholders, including security forces, civil society organizations, and local communities, will actively engage in discussions to shape a peaceful and prosperous future for Assam. The successful removal of Afspa from the remaining districts will mark a significant milestone in the state’s journey toward lasting peace and development.