The AFSPA, which gives special powers to security forces operating in conflict zones, may be withdrawn from areas where security situation improves, Union Minister Kiren Rijiju said today.
Rijiju also said the ongoing Naga peace talks between the NSCN-IM and the government's interlocutor were being followed up with utmost sincerity and the outcome of the dialogue would be positive, but he refused to give any time-frame for signing the peace pact.
"Since the security scenario in the Northeast has improved in the last four years, AFSPA has been removed from many areas. We are hopeful that with further improvement, it may be lifted from the remaining few areas in the near future," he told PTI.
The Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act has been completely withdrawn from Meghalaya and partly from Arunachal Pradesh but it is in force in Nagaland, Assam and three districts in Arunachal Pradesh.
The controversial law, AFSPA, which empowers security forces to conduct operations, arrest anyone anywhere without prior notice, is also in force in Jammu and Kashmir. There have been demands in the Northeast as well as in Jammu and Kashmir that the AFSPA be withdrawn completely as the security forces often allegedly use it whenever there is complaints of human rights violation and use of extreme force.
Referring to the ongoing dialogue between the Issak-Muivah faction of the National Socialist Council of Nagaland (NSCN-IM) and the government interlocutor, the minister said the Narendra Modi government was the most sensitive toward the issues of the Nagas and the Northeast.
"The process of Naga talks are being followed up with utmost sincerity. So the outcome will be positive," he said. Rijiju refused to say anything when asked about the possible dates for signing the final peace accord to bring lasting peace in the insurgency-hit Nagaland. A framework agreement was signed on August 3, 2015 by NSCN-IM general secretary Thuingaleng Muivah and the government's interlocutor R N Ravi in the presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
The framework agreement had come after over 80 rounds of negotiations spanning 18 years, with the first breakthrough made in 1997 when the ceasefire agreement was sealed after decades of insurgency in Nagaland which started soon after India's Independence in 1947.