The Centre has declared entire Assam as a “disturbed” area under the controversial Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (AFSPA) for one more month, citing various violent activities by insurgent groups ULFA, NDFB, and others. The Union home ministry also declared Meghalaya’s border areas adjoining Assam, and three districts in Arunachal Pradesh as “disturbed” under the AFSPA for two more months with effect from August 3. In separate gazette notifications, the home ministry said the entire Assam, has been declared “disturbed” under the AFSPA with effect from August 3 till August 31.
The ministry said the 20 km belt in Meghalaya bordering Assam will also continue to be a “disturbed area” under the AFSPA with effect from August 3 to September 30. It has also declared as “disturbed” under the AFSPA three districts of Arunachal Pradesh Tirap, Changlang and Longding and areas falling within the jurisdiction of 14 police stations in nine other districts of the state with effect from August 4 to September 30. The 14 police stations fall under the districts of Papumpare, West Siang, East Siang, Lower Dibang Valley, East Kameng, West Kameng, Namsai, Lohit district, Lower Subansiri in Arunachal Pradesh. A home ministry official said there were 75 incidents of violence in Assam in 2016 in which 33 people, including four security personnel, were killed and 14 others were abducted. The violence were perpetrated in Assam by insurgent groups like ULFA, NDFB and others.
AFSPA has been continuing in Assam since November 1990. The official said continuing violence perpetrated by NSCN(IM), NSCN(K), ULFA, NDFB, and others were key reasons for continuing with AFSPA in Arunachal Pradesh. The AFSPA has been in force in the three Arunachal Pradesh districts of Tirap, Changlang and Longding since January, 2016. Meghalaya too has been witnessing violence by ULFA, NDFB militants in the recent past.