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Centre extends AFSPA to next 6 months in Nagaland, says the state is in “disturbed and dangerous condition”

For another six months, the central government has extended the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) jurisdiction over the whole state of Nagaland. The decision comes after the state administration demanded that the disputed statute that protects armed military personnel be repealed.

The Ministry of Home Affairs’ latest extension is based on the state’s “disturbed and dangerous condition,” according to the gazette notification “..

“The central government believes that the territory encompassing the entire state of Nagaland is in such a disturbed and dangerous state that the use of armed forces to assist the civil power is necessary,” says the statement “According to the announcement,

The Union government can impose and prolong AFSPA in a state or region that it considers unsettled under Section 3 of the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act. AFSPA will remain in effect in Nagaland until June 30, 2022, according to the current extension.

Since an Army unit mistakenly killed 14 civilians in Nagaland’s Mon district earlier this month, protests demanding the withdrawal of the AFSPA have erupted in numerous parts of the state. Local BJP leaders have also been dissatisfied with the Union and state leadership’s responses, while citizens have expressed their displeasure by staging protests and torching the effigy of Union home minister Amit Shah.

The Nagaland Assembly unanimously passed a motion urging the removal of AFSPA on December 21. After 14 civilians were allegedly killed by 21 Indian army para soldiers in Oting, Mon, Nagaland, a special session of the assembly made the demand.

Officials from the federal government, on the other hand, believe that a demand for the repeal of the AFSPA should have been made by the state administration when things were calmer, rather than when a new occurrence has thrown the situation into disarray. The last time AFSPA was extended was in June of this year.

“At the time, no request for repeal had been received from the state administration.” Things have become unsettled and turbulent as a result of this tragedy. In the current situation, repealing the statute will be difficult,” an officer told news18.

Armed forces personnel are given broad powers under AFSPA, including the ability to make arrests without warrants and even shoot to kill in certain circumstances. It also protects them from prosecution while an investigation is underway.

This Monday, the Ministry of Home Affairs announced the formation of a committee headed by the Registrar General of India, with representatives from the Army, Nagaland police, and Assam rifles as members, to examine AFSPA repeal demands. In 45 days, the committee is due to provide its report.

The state-based regional party Naga People’s Front (NPF) issued a statement on December 30 condemning the decision, saying it was “aghast and affronted.” NPF leader and former state chief minister T.R. Zeliang, along with chief minister Neiphu Rio and state home minister and BJP leader Y. Patton, signed a joint statement on December 23 stating that the Union ministry of home affairs had formed a committee to look into the removal of AFSPA from Nagaland.

The NPF press statement said, “The extension (of the term of AFSPA in the state) is a manifestation of the utter disregard the central government has for the voices of small states, particularly in North East India, considering that the Nagaland Legislative Assembly has convened a special one-day session on December 20, 2021, to deliberate on AFSPA (1958) and the House had unanimously resolved to demand its repeal.” The party, which now supports the NDPP-BJP coalition government in the state, highlighted that though the chief minister had this past December 23 expressed his gratitude to the Union home minister Amit Shah for forming the committee as per the demand of the people of Nagaland, “Any discerning person is made to wonder if there is any modicum of coordination or even communication between the Executive and Legislative branches of the central government.”

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