GOI sets up panel to look into repeal of AFSPA in Nagaland

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The Union government has instituted a high-level committee chaired by a Secretary-level officer to examine the possibility of withdrawing the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (AFSPA) in Nagaland, Indian Express reported.

The committee will submit its report within 45 days, it added.

This comes three weeks after six civilians were killed in an Army ambush on 4 December, and eight more in violence triggered by the incident in Nagaland’s Mon district.

According to officials, Registrar General and Census Commissioner of India Vivek Joshi will head the five-member committee and Additional Secretary in the Union Home Ministry Piyush Goyal will be its Member-Secretary.

The Chief Secretary and Director General of Police of Nagaland and the DGP of Assam Rifles will be the other members of the committee, they said.

Opinion |Nagaland’s people deserve neither AFSPA nor gun culture

Earlier in the day, a press statement signed by Nagaland Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio, Deputy CM Yanthungo Patton and Naga People’s Front Legislature Party leader TR Zeliang said the decision to set up the committee was taken in a meeting chaired by Union Home Minister Amit Shah on 23 December. Convened to discuss the present scenario in Nagaland, the meeting was attended by Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma as well.

“The committee will submit its report within 45 days and withdrawal of Disturbed Area and AFSPA from Nagaland will be based on the recommendations of the committee,” the statement said.

In the 23 December meeting with the Union Home Minister, the Nagaland delegation impressed upon him to replace the Assam Rifles unit in Mon district with immediate effect.

The demands for repeal of AFSPA – an Act that gives sweeping powers to the armed forces to arrest without warrants and even shoot to kill in certain situations in ‘disturbed areas’ – from Nagaland and other north-eastern states have been growing louder since the December 4-5 incidents.

Over the last few weeks, the state witnessed massive protest rallies in eastern districts as well as capital Kohima for the law to be scrapped

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