Areas under AFSPA regime reduced: Home Ministry
The Union Home Ministry has considerably reduced the “disturbed areas” under the Armed Forces (Special) Powers Act (AFSPA) in Assam, Manipur and Nagaland.
|Armed Forces Special Powers Act, to put it simply, gives armed forces the power to maintain public order in “disturbed areas.”
AFSPA gives armed forces the authority use force or even open fire after giving due warning if they feel a person is in contravention of the law.
The Act further provides that if “reasonable suspicion exists”, the armed forces can also arrest a person without warrant; enter or search premises without a warrant; and ban the possession of firearms.
|The Central Government or the Governor of the State or administrator of the Union Territory can declare the whole or part of the State or Union Territory as a disturbed area.
These are places where “the use of armed forces in aid of the civil power is necessary”.
- Power to kill: Section 4 of the Act granted officers the authority to “take any action” even to the extent to cause the death.
- Protection against prosecution: This power is further bolstered by Section 6 which provides that no legal sanction can be instituted against the officer, except with the previous sanction of the Central Government.
- Sexual Misconduct by Armed Forces: in conflict zones, legal protection for women was neglected.
- it is contravention to the:
Right to Life and Personal Liberty (Article 21) and
Federal structure of the Constitution since law and order is a State subject
Supreme court observations:
- It clarified that the bar under Section 6 would not grant “total immunity” to the officers against any probe into their alleged excesses.
- The judgment noted that if any death was unjustified, there is no blanket immunity available to the perpetrator(s) of the offense.
- Justice B.P. Jeevan Reddy Commission: recommended that AFSPA be repealed.
- Additionally, it recommended that appropriate provisions be inserted in the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act, 1967 (UAPA) instead.
- Various parts of northeast have seen a reduction in insurgency.
- A number of major groups were already in talks with the government and these talks received traction during the current regime.
- In Nagaland, all major groups are at advanced stages of concluding agreements with the government.
- In Manipur, insurgency as well as heavy militarisation have been on the decline since 2021, when SC started hearing PIL on extra judicial killings
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