AFSPA extended for six more months in the state of Assam
The extension of the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, 1958 has been announced by the Assam government for 6 more months in the state, which is going to be effective from 28th August.
What is AFSPA?
Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, 1958 is an act of parliament that gives special power to the Armed Forces in order to maintain public order in “disturbed areas”. The introduction of the Act took place due to the increasing violence in the Northeastern States decades ago.
- Gathering of five or more persons in an area is prohibited. The armed forces have the authority to open fire after giving warning if any such circumstance arises that is a violation of the law.
- One could be detained and arrested without any prior warrant for any suspicious activity.
- The detained person will be handed over to the nearest police station with a detailed report on the reason for the arrest.
What is a “disturbed area”?
A disturbed area is declared by issuing a notification under Section 3 of the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act. The disturbance could occur due to communal violence, racial violence, the clash between two groups, etc. Once an area is declared ‘disturbed’, it has to maintain the status quo (existing state of affairs) for a minimum period of three months.
- The recent insurgent attacks on security forces is the prime reason for declaring the state of Assam as a “disturbed area”.
- AFSPA has been enforced and illegal arms and ammunition have been recovered from many places.
- Some civil society groups, activists have continuously been opposing the enforcement of the law and its extension.
The Central Government, Governor of the State, or the administrator of the Union Territory have the authority to declare an area as a disturbed area in their provinces.
- As per Section 3 of AFSPA, it can be put into effect in the places where armed forces power is required in the aid of the civil power.
- The Ministry of Home Affairs enforces this Act but the state government is also assigned with the same power for some exceptional cases.
Assam has been witnessing the AFSPA since 1990.