New Delhi, Mar 31: In a major outreach to the Northeast, Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Thursday announced reduction of the disturbed areas imposed under the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (AFSPA) in Nagaland, Assam and Manipur after decades.
A home ministry spokesperson, however, said the decision does not imply that the AFSPA has been completely withdrawn from the three insurgency-hit states but will continue to be in force in some areas of the three states.
In a series of tweets, Shah said: "In a significant step, GoI (Government of India) under the decisive leadership of PM Shri @NarendraModi Ji has decided to reduce disturbed areas under Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) in the states of Nagaland, Assam and Manipur after decades."
The home minister said the reduction in areas under AFSPA is the result of the improved security situation and fast-tracked development due to the consistent efforts and several agreements to end insurgency and bring lasting peace in Northeast by the Modi government.
"Thanks to PM @NarendraModi Ji's unwavering commitment, our North-Eastern region, which was neglected for decades is now witnessing a new era of peace, prosperity and unprecedented development. I congratulate the people of North East on this momentous occasion," he said.
The AFSPA has been in force for decades in the three Northeastern states to assist the armed forces operating there to tackle insurgency.
The AFSPA empowers security forces to conduct operations and arrest anyone without any prior warrant besides giving immunity from arrest and prosecution to the security forces if they shoot someone dead.
There have been protests and demands for the complete withdrawal of the law from the Northeast as well as Jammu and Kashmir for its alleged "draconian" provisions.