The Central government has extended the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) in three districts of Arunachal Pradesh and nine districts of Nagaland for six months from Saturday (October 1).
According to a notification issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), AFSPA has been extended in three districts of Arunachal Pradesh, including Tirap, Changlang and Longding districts, from Saturday, October 1 to March 30 next year.
The government has also extended AFSPA in the areas falling within the jurisdiction of Namsai and Mahadevpur police stations in Arunachal Pradesh. Furthermore, AFSPA has also been extended in nine districts of Nagaland for a period of six months.
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The AFSPA is in force in most parts of the Northeast with activists demanding repeal of the law that gives special powers to the armed forces in areas where it is in force.
The AFSPA gives armed forces the power to prohibit a gathering of five or more people in a "disturbed area". It also allows security personnel to use force and even open fire after due warning in the case of a breach of law and order.
Some of these powers include opening fire upon anyone who is acting against law and order, arrest anyone without a warrant, stop and search any vehicle or vessel, and prohibit a gathering of five or more people. Possession of firearms by civilians is also banned under the AFSPA. The law also confers special power on non-commissioned officers.
With special powers accorded to the armed forces, there have been multiple allegations of "fake encounters" and other human rights violations by the security forces in 'disturbed' areas.