A recent official notification in Manipur has announced a six-month extension of the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (AFSPA). This extension, effective from October 1, 2023, covers the entire state of Manipur but excludes 19 police stations within the Imphal valley and an adjoining region bordering Assam.
The decision was made by the state government after assessing the prevailing law-and-order situation, which indicated that conducting a detailed on-ground evaluation was impractical due to the security agencies’ current focus on maintaining law and order.
AFSPA extended in ‘disturbed’ areas of Nagaland, Arunachal
According to a report, the Ministry of Home Affairs announced the extension of the AFSPA in select areas of Nagaland and Arunachal Pradesh for an additional six-month period, commencing from October 1. This legislation grants extensive powers to the armed forces and Central Armed Police Forces deployed in “disturbed areas,” including the authority to use lethal force against individuals in violation of the law, conduct warrantless searches and arrests, and enjoy legal immunity from prosecution and lawsuits without the prior sanction of the Central government.
As per the recent notification, in Arunachal Pradesh, the districts of Tirap, Changlang, and Longding, along with the areas falling under the jurisdiction of Namsai, Mahadevpur, and Chowkham police stations in Namsai district along the Assam border, have been designated as ‘disturbed areas’ under Section 3 of the AFSPA, 1958, for a duration of six months starting October 1, unless withdrawn earlier.
It is important to note that this notification is an extension of a previous order issued in March. On April 1, 2022, the MHA had significantly reduced the scope of “disturbed areas” in Assam, Manipur, and Nagaland. Notably, the AFSPA had been in effect across the entire state of Nagaland since 1995.
Both the State and Central governments possess the authority to issue notifications regarding the AFSPA.
The MHA specifically issues periodic “disturbed area” notifications to extend the AFSPA in Nagaland and Arunachal Pradesh. Conversely, the notifications for Manipur and Assam are issued by the respective State governments.
It is worth mentioning that Tripura revoked the AFSPA in 2015, while Meghalaya was under the AFSPA for 27 years until its revocation by the Ministry on April 1, 2018.