On the occasion of India’s 77th Independence Day, Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma announced that the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) would be completely lifted from Assam.
While speaking about the matter on Tuesday (August 15), he said, “In Assam, the AFSPA has been scrapped from many districts already. The law and order situation of the state has improved largely and soon the Act will be completely lifted from the entire Assam.”
“Before our government came to power, previous governments had requested the Centre to extend AFSPA 62 times,” Sarma hit out at the previous regimes. He also informed that over 8000 militants in the State have been integrated into mainstream politics through 4 peace accords, signed during his tenure.
The Assam CM added that massive administrative changes would be undertaken in the State within 1 month. “Sub-districts will be formed in each constituency. All the important departments will be within these sub-districts. There will be one additional deputy commissioner in each sub-district.”
Earlier in May this year, Himanta Biswa Sarma reiterated his aim of making Assam free from the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) and said that the state government is working towards it.
What is AFSPA
Armed Forces Special Powers Act is a legislation of the Parliament of India that grants special powers to the Indian Armed Forces to maintain public order in “disturbed areas”.
It empowers security forces to conduct operations anywhere and arrest anyone without any prior warrant. It also gives a certain level of immunity to the security forces if an operation goes wrong.
According to the Disturbed Areas Act of 1976, once declared ‘disturbed’, the area has to maintain the status quo for a minimum of three months.