AFSPA Extended in Nagaland
- 31 Dec 2019
- 3 min read
Why in News
The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has declared the entire State of Nagaland as a “disturbed area” for six more months, under the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, 1958 (AFSPA).
- According to the Ministry of Home Affairs, the area comprising the whole of State of Nagaland is in a disturbed and dangerous condition and the use of armed forces in aid of civilian power is necessary.
Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, 1958 (AFSPA)
- The Act came into force in the context of increasing violence in the North-eastern States decades ago, which the State governments found difficult to control.
- AFSPA gives armed forces the power to maintain public order in “disturbed areas”. They have the authority to prohibit a gathering of five or more persons in an area, can use force or even open fire after giving due warning if they feel a person is in contravention of the law.
- If reasonable suspicion exists, the army can also arrest a person without a warrant; enter or search premises without a warrant; and ban the possession of firearms.
- A disturbed area is the one which is declared by notification under Section 3 of the AFSPA. It can be invoked in places where the use of armed forces in aid of civil power is necessary.
- An area can be considered to be disturbed due to differences or disputes between members of different religious, racial, language or regional groups or castes or communities.
- The Central Government or the Governor of the State or administrator of the Union Territory can declare the whole or part of the State or Union Territory as a disturbed area.
- Once declared ‘disturbed’, the region is maintained as disturbed for a period of three months straight, according to The Disturbed Areas (Special Courts) Act, 1976. The government of the state can suggest whether the Act is required in the state or not.
States under AFSPA, Act
- It is effective in the whole of Jammu and Kashmir, Nagaland, Assam, Manipur (excluding seven assembly constituencies of Imphal) and parts of Arunachal Pradesh.
- In Arunachal Pradesh, the impact of AFSPA has been reduced to eight police stations.