Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma has welcomed the Centre’s decision to reduce the disturbed areas in Assam under the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA).
He said that around 60 per cent of the state’s area will now be free from AFSPA’s purview.
"I whole-heartedly welcome the decision of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to withdraw AFSPA from all areas of Assam barring nine districts and one sub-division. I also convey our deep gratitude to HM Shah for this bold decision. Now around 60 per cent of the State's area will be free from AFSPA's purview," CM Sarma said.
He further said that the move marks the beginning of a new chapter in Assam’s future.
"It is a testimony to the significant improvement in law and order in the State. With peace getting primacy, North East is now on a new trajectory of growth and development," he said.
"I also compliment the people of Assam, who have believed in peace," he added.
Earlier today, Union home minister Amit Shah informed that the Centre has decided to reduce disturbed areas under the AFSPA in the states of Nagaland, Assam and Manipur after decades.
Announcing the decision, Shah said that the reduction in areas under AFSPA is a 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 PM Narendra Modi".
"Our Northeastern region, which was neglected for decades, is now witnessing a new era of peace, prosperity and unprecedented development,” he said.
The act empowers security forces to conduct operations anywhere and arrest anyone without any warrant. The act also gives a certain level of immunity to the security forces in case of an operation going wrong.
Assam has been in the disturbed area list since 1990.
Initially, the AFSPA was imposed in insurgency-affected areas of the hills of undivided Assam that were identified as “disturbed areas”. The Naga Hills were among those areas. Later on, all seven states in the Northeast were brought under the AFSPA.
With this new step, 23 districts in Assam will be removed completely from the effect of AFSPA from April 1.