Controversial AFSPA To Continue In Assam: Chief Minister Himanta Sarma

Controversial Law AFSPA To Continue In Assam: Chief Minister Himanta Sarma

No state would like to continue with AFSPA if law-and-order is stable, Himanta Sarma said (File)

Guwahati:

The Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, 1958 will continue in Assam for now and the state will review it if the law-and-order situation remains peaceful, Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said today. His remarks come on a day when the Nagaland Assembly passed a unanimous resolution seeking a repeal of the controversial law in the northeast and especially in Nagaland.

“Withdraw AFSPA can’t be a call of the state government. It depends on the overall situation of law and order in the state,” he said.

“Suppose I withdraw (AFSPA). Will that be reciprocated by the militant groups? In that way, the Army won’t be able to do any operations, thereby inviting chaos. AFSPA’s withdrawal should be linked with the peace and stability of the state,” the Chief Minister reasoned.

“Recently Arunachal Pradesh has withdrawn AFSPA from several parts of the state, in consultation with the Ministry of Home affairs. We are of the opinion that if the peaceful situation continues, we can take a call on whether we need AFSPA in entire Assam or just in some places at a later stage,” he added.

“No state government would like to continue with AFSPA if the law-and-order situation is stable.”

The Nagaland Assembly passed a five-point resolution on Monday to “strengthen the ongoing efforts to find a peaceful political settlement to the Naga political issue”. This comes a little over two weeks after a botched Army operation and retaliatory violence in the state’s Mon district killed 14 civilians. Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio led the Assembly in passing the resolution and appealing for an early settlement of the Naga Peace talks at the special session of the Assembly.

Neighbouring Meghalaya has also joined the growing chorus with Chief Minister Conrad Sangma – whose party National People’s Party is a member of the National Democratic Alliance – calling for its repeal, saying that AFSPA is counter-productive and has caused “more unrest”.

The demand for repeal also saw a renewed momentum among the Opposition in Assam and I Manipur where Congress has vowed to push for “the immediate and complete removal of AFSPA” from the entire state if elected to power in the 2022 polls.

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