AFSPA Revoked in Meghalaya, Parts of Arunachal: What is AFSPA? (Download PDF)

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Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, 1958 (AFSPA) was completely removed from Meghalaya & some areas of Arunachal Pradesh w/effect from 1st April 2018.40 % of Meghalaya was under AFSPA including 20 km stretch of state’s 884.9 km border with Assam till September 2017.

Map of AFSPA revoked in Meghalaya, Parts of Arunachal

Map of AFSPA Revoked in Meghalaya, Parts of Arunachal

Map of AFSPA revoked in Meghalaya, Parts of Arunachal

  • AFSPA is now restricted to 8 police stations of AP bordering Assam & 3 districts adjoining Myanmar namely Tirap, Longding & Changlang.
  • Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) also relaxed Protected Area Permit (PAP) for foreigners visiting Manipur, Mizoram & Nagaland.
  • PAP will be valid for 5 years, but residents from Pakistan, Afghanistan & China will not be allowed to visit these areas.

Reasons for Removal of AFSPA

  • North-East region witnessed huge reduction of 96 % in casualties among security forces from 289 in 2000 to just 12 in 2017. While, Civilian casualties dropped by 96 % from 907 in year 2000 to 37 in 2017.
  • Insurgency-related incidents witnessed sharp fall during same period. Insurgency incidents reduced from 1963 in 2000 to 308 in 2017.

Table contain shows the Number of deaths in 2000

Table contain shows the Number of deaths in 2000

Incidents

Number of deaths in 2000

Number of deaths in 2007

Decline (in present)

Insurgency-related incidents

1963

308

85%

Security forces killed

289

12

96%

Civilian casualities

907

37

96%

  • After witnessing 85 % drop in insurgency-related incidents in NE region, Ministry of Home Affairs decided to remove AFSPA from Meghalaya & some areas of AP.

Where AFSPA is in Force Now?

  • At present, AFSPA is applicable only in Nagaland, Manipur (excluding Imphal), Assam & parts of AP.
  • However, state govt. of Assam & Manipur now have power to keep or revoke Act.
  • In 2017, Home Ministry gave up its power & asked Assam govt. to take decision on continuing AFSPA in State.
  • Tripura govt. withdrew AFSPA from state in 2015, as there was decline in insurgency-related incidents. Mizoram & Tripura reported no incidents of insurgency in 2017.

What is AFSPA?

 Image of AFSPA

Image of AFSPA

Image of AFSPA

  • Armed forces on duty.
  • Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, 1958 (AFSPA) is one of most draconian legislations that gives unrestricted & unaccounted power to all security forces to carry out their operations, once area is declared ‘disturbed’.
  • Even officer, who is not on duty, is granted right to shoot to kill, just on basis of mere suspicion to ‘maintain public order’.
  • Act was 1st applied to NE states of Assam & Manipur & was amended in 1972 to extend to these ‘seven sisters’ states in NE region- Assam, Manipur, Tripura, Meghalaya, AP, Mizoram & Nagaland.

What is ‘Disturbed Area’ and How is an Area Declared ‘Disturbed’?

  • Govt. considers those areas to be ‘disturbed’ that witness differences or disputes b/w members of diff. religions, races, languages, regional groups, castes or communities.
  • Under this Act, State or Central Govt. has power to demarcate area in Indian Union as ‘disturbed’.
  • Decision of State Govt. as to whether or not area is ‘disturbed’ can be overruled by Governor or Centre.
  • Section (3) of AFSPA, 1958 empowers Governor of State or Union territory to issue notification on Gazette of India about ‘disturbed’ area, following which centre will send in armed forces for civilian aid.
  • Once declared ‘disturbed’, region has to maintain status quo for min. of 3 months, according to Disturbed Areas (Special Courts) Act, 1976.

AFSPA Can Be Invoked In-

  • Section (3) of AFSPA states that act can be invoked in places ‘where use of armed forces in aid of civil power is necessary’.

Powers Conferred on the Armed Forces under AFSPA

  • AFSPA gives wide powers to armed & central forces to shoot & arrest anyone acting in contravention of law & search any premises w/o warrant & provide cover to forces from prosecution & legal suits, all in name of aiding civil power.

  • At first, officer has to give warning & after giving warning, officer can shoot or use other kinds of force, even if it causes death.

  • He can seize any unauthorised arms storage, hide-outs, shelter or training camp which is supposed to be used by militants.

  • He can arrest anyone, w/o warrant, who has committed cognisable offences or is suspected of having committed such crime.

  • He can search any place to recover any suspect or confiscate unauthorised arms & ammunition.

  • He can stop & search any vehicle or vessel, suspected to be carrying such person or weapons.

  • Arresting officer needs to present suspect to nearest police station w/least possible delay.

  • No Army officer can be held against any arrest under AFSPA. No prosecution or any other legal proceeding can be made against arrest or seize. Even state govt. cannot question his action.

- Published/Last Modified on: July 20, 2018

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