Nagaland declared ‘Disturbed Area’ under AFSPA for 6 more months

Centre has declared entire State of Nagaland a ‘disturbed area’ for a period of 6 more months under Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (AFSPA) with effect from 30 June 2019. The central government opinion was notified by Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA).

Key Highlights

Background: AFSPA has been in force in Nagaland for several decades. On August 3, 2015 a framework agreement was signed by Naga insurgent group NSCN-IM general secretary Thuingaleng Muivah and central government in presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi AFSPA but still even after it AFSPA was not withdrawn. This framework agreement came after over 80 rounds of negotiations in past 18 years.

Current Scenario: Central government declared whole of Nagaland to be a ‘disturbed area’ for a period of six months in exercise of its powers conferred by Section 3 of Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, 1958 (No. 28 of 1958).

Government justified that area comprising entire State of Nagaland is in such a disturbed and dangerous condition that use of armed forces in aid of civil power is necessary.

About AFSPA

Background

On passing of Armed Forces (Special Powers) Bill by both Houses of Parliament and approved by President on 11 September 1958 it became known as Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA), 1958. This Act came into force in context of increasing violence in North-eastern States of India decades ago, which State governments found difficult to control.

Powers Given: It empowers security forces to maintain public order in ‘disturbed areas’. If reasonable suspicion exists, Armed forces have authority to prohibit a gathering of five or more persons in an area, can conduct search operations anywhere without warrant, arrest anyone without warrant, ban possession of firearms among others.

Where necessary Union Ministry of Home Affairs would usually enforce this Act, but n exceptions exists where Centre decide to forego its power and leave decision to State governments.

What is disturbed area?

It is one which is declared by notification under Section 3 of AFSPA. It can be invoked in places where use of armed forces in aid of the civil power is necessary.

Central Government, or Governor of State concerned or administrator of Union Territory (UT) can declare whole or part of State or UT as a disturbed area.

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