Center extends ‘disturbed area’ tag on Nagaland for 6 more months
The central government on Wednesday extended its “disturbed area” tag on Nagaland for six more months, furthering the continuance of the controversial Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (AFSPA) which empowers security forces to conduct operations anywhere and arrest anyone without prior warrant, and to open fire if deemed “necessary for the maintenance of public order”.
The Act, denounced by various Naga civil organizations as being “draconian”, has been in force in the state for several decades, and is extended biannually.
The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) on Wednesday issued a notification that the central government believes that the area comprising the whole of Nagaland is in such a “disturbed and dangerous condition” that the use of armed forces in aid of the civil power is necessary.
“Now, therefore, in exercise of the powers conferred by Section 3 of the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, 1958 (No. 28 of 1958), the central government hereby declares whole of the State of Nagaland to be “disturbed area” for a period of six months with effect from 30th December 2020 for the purpose of the said Act,” the notification stated.
The Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (AFSPA) was not withdrawn even after the central government entered into peace talks with Naga nationalist groups, notably the “framework agreement” which was signed between the Isak-Muivah led National Socialist Council of Nagaland (NSCN-IM) and the government of India on August 3, 2015.
The order to maintain status quo in Nagaland regarding coverage of AFSPA comes against the backdrop of reports that the peace talks are at a final stage.
No official reaction was available on the issue.