Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma on Monday met Union Home Minister Amit Shah here in the national capital and pleaded for the complete withdrawal of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) from the state.
In the course of the meeting that lasted for 30 minutes, Chief Minister Sarma and Union Home Minister Shah discussed threadbare the roadmap for the complete withdrawal of AFSPA from Assam, as per an Assam government release.
The Chief Minister cited the significant improvement in the law and order situation, the surrendering of scores of underground cadres of extremist outfits with huge caches of arms and ammunition following the signing of several peace accords and the drastic fall in deaths of security personnel and civilians as reasons for the complete lifting of AFSPA from Assam.
The Union Home Minister put forth some suggestions to the Chief Minister to pave the way for the complete withdrawal of AFSPA from Assam, the release said, without getting into specifics.
Sarma assured Home Minister Shah that the state government would take further steps based on those suggestions.
Later taking to X (formerly Twitter), Chief Minister Sarma said, “I met Hon’ble Union Home Minister @AmitShah ji at his residence today to discuss the roadmap for the complete withdrawal of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act from Assam. The Government of Assam will take further steps based on the suggestions of Hon’ble Home Minister.”
It may be noted that the ‘Disturbed Area’ notification has been in force since 1990 in the whole of Assam. On April 1, 2022, the AFSPA was removed from the entire State of Assam except for nine districts, including one subdivision of another district.
From April 1, the districts under the AFSPA in Assam were further reduced to eight as the Act was withdrawn from the Lakhipur subdivision of Cachar district.
The law empowers the Armed Forces and the Central Armed Police Forces (CAPF) deployed in “Disturbed Areas” to arrest a person without a warrant and enter or search premises without a warrant along with some other actions.
The release, quoting Ministry of Home Affairs data, compared to the year 2014, there is a reduction of 76 per cent in the extremist incidents in the North East region in 2022.
Similarly, the deaths of security personnel and civilians have come down by 90 per cent and 97 per cent respectively during this period.
Chief Minister Sarma, in his Independence Day address in Guwahati, said his government’s aim is to completely withdraw AFSPA from the state by the end of 2023.
“AFSPA is in place in eight districts of Assam now after our government came to power. Our government’s aim is to completely withdraw AFSPA from the state by the end of this year. Before our government came to power, previous governments had requested the Centre to extend AFSPA 62 times. Now the situation has been improving,” he had said.
Sarma also said that during his tenure, four peace accords were signed with the insurgent groups and nearly 8,000 militants have been integrated with the mainstream politics. (ANI)