GOI declares Nagaland as ‘disturbed area’ for another six months under AFSPA

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On Wednesday, the Union Home Ministry declared Nagaland as a ‘disturbed area’ for the next six months under the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, 1958. In its notification, the Home Ministry stated that ‘the use of armed forces in aid of civil power is necessary”, reported Hindustan Times (HT).

“Whereas 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 the aid of civil power is necessary,” said the Home Ministry in its release.

The notification further added: “Therefore, in exercise of the powers conferred by Section 3 of the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, 1958 (No 28 of 1958) the Central government hereby declares that whole of the state of Nagaland to be ‘disturbed area’ for a period of six months with effect from 30th December, 2020 for the purpose of the said Act.”

As per the report of HT, on 30 June 2020, the Center declared Nagaland to be a ‘disturbed area’ for a period of six months. The state has been under the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) for almost six decades. The Act was not withdrawn even after the signing of the framework agreement between the National Socialist Council of Nagaland (Isak Muivah) (NSCN-IM) Secretary-General Thuingaleng Muivah and the government interlocutor RN Ravi in 2015. The agreement was signed in the presence of senior leaders, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

In November, the Union government said that talks regarding the final settlement of the decades-long issue with Nagaland, with the NSCN-IM, are at an advanced stage and the Nagaland State government along with the Centre is providing all assistance to the state to deal with rebel groups there, reported HT.

On November 6, Union Home Secretary Ajay Kumar Bhalla was quoted as saying by the news agency Press Trust of India (PTI), “The government is providing assistance to the states to deal with the insurgent groups and also carrying out negotiations with the insurgent groups. There has been a settlement with the Bodos after a long struggle, talks are in an advanced stage with the NSCN to resolve the Naga issue.”

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders have highlighted at various events that the current government led by the Prime Minister Modi, Centre took steps to ensure that youth who took the path of arms return back into the mainstream. Earlier this month, during his two-day Assam visit, Union home minister Amit Shah said that the few separatist factions in the northeast forced the youth to take up arms and the Central government has ensured that these factions join the mainstream. He listed the India-Bangladesh land boundary agreement, ending the blockade in Manipur, Bru-Reang refugee settlement and the recently concluded Bodoland territorial council elections as important steps taken to ensure peace and stability in the region, reported HT.

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