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Centre extends AFSPA in Nagaland for 6 more months amid protests to repeal the law

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Centre extends AFSPA in Nagaland for 6 more months amid protests to repeal the law
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Kohima: Amid demands from the state government to scrap the contentious law which provides protection to armed forces personnel, the Union government has extended the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act 1958 (AFSPA) in Nagaland for six more months with effect from today.

The Central government is of the opinion that the area comprising the "whole of the State of Nagaland is in such a disturbed and dangerous condition that the use of armed forces in aid of the civil power is necessary".

The Armed Forces (Special) Powers Act, or AFSPA, gives immense powers to the military to operate freely anywhere that has been declared a "disturbed area"; no military personnel in an area where AFSPA is in force can be prosecuted without the centre's sanction.

Nagaland's rights groups and even the state government have been demanding the centre to withdraw AFSPA.

Protests for the withdrawal of the AFSPA recently turned intense after an Army unit killed 14 civilians in the state's Mon district earlier this month, mistaking them as insurgents.

A soldier died in a subsequent attack by villagers, who surrounded the jawans in anger.

On December 20, the Nagaland assembly unanimously resolved to demand a repeal of AFSPA from the northeast, especially the state. A five-member committee has been formed under top bureaucrat Vivek Joshi to examine the possibility of withdrawal of AFSPA from Nagaland.

The army has also agreed to give access to Nagaland's Special Investigation Team, or SIT, to record the statements of soldiers who were involved in the ambush on December 4.

It is not yet clear how the probe by the state-level team will proceed since Nagaland is under AFSPA.

AFSPA has been extended every six months for several years in Nagaland, which has long remained a "disturbed area". Declaring a place "disturbed area" is the first requirement for imposing AFSPA, a law that has roots in the colonial-era and which was used to crush protests.

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TAGS:Nagaland AFSPA 
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