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  Opinion   Edit  23 May 2023  AA Edit | Assam: It’ll be good if AFSPA goes

AA Edit | Assam: It’ll be good if AFSPA goes

THE ASIAN AGE.
Published : May 24, 2023, 12:05 am IST
Updated : May 24, 2023, 12:05 am IST

While the announcement had a hint of a disclaimer and conditionality, it will have a largely positive bearing on the entire region

Assam chief minister Himanta Biswa Sarma. (Photo: PTI)
 Assam chief minister Himanta Biswa Sarma. (Photo: PTI)

It was a very welcome announcement made by Assam chief minister Himanta Biswa Sarma that the government was considering withdrawing the controversial 1958 Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (AFSPA) in the entire state by the end of the year. He also instructed his state police force to gear up its preparations to ensure the ground situation became conducive to do away with it.

While the announcement had a hint of a disclaimer and conditionality, it will have a largely positive bearing on the entire region. If the police do not succeed in creating circumstances conducive to its removal, the CM said AFSPA would continue to be in force in five districts.

Currently, eight districts and one subdivision of the state are under the provisions of the Act, which, most human rights supporters and several law experts have said, are against the spirit of fundamental rights.

The law, which has been opposed in different parts of the country wherever it has been enforced currently or in the past, including several northeastern states and the Union Territory of Jammu & Kashmir, gives the security forces special powers to conduct search and other operations, and arrest suspects without a warrant.

Most significantly, and controversially, it also provides blanket immunity to the members of the security forces from any legal probe and external accountability for any course of action taken, including shooting someone dead.

Last year, after the chief minister reviewed the security situation, he withdrew the AFSPA from 23 districts and one subdivision of the state where law and order had improved. Elsewhere in the Northeast region, AFSPA has already been removed in Tripura, Meghalaya and Mizoram.

Hopefully, following these moves and under an improved law and order situation, the draconian Act will be completely removed from Assam, nearly 33 years after it was originally implemented, as well as from every other part of the country.

Tags: assam, himanta biswa sarma, afspa, jammu & kashmir