Guwahati: Giving an indication that the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, or AFSPA, could be fully lifted from Assam, Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma on Saturday said some positive developments are expected on the Act in 2022.
“As far as AFSPA is concerned, Assam will see some rationalising in 2022 … How and when we don’t know. But I am an optimistic man. We are looking at 2022 as a year of hope. There will be some positive moments regarding AFSPA,” he told mediapersons on the first day of the new year.
AFSPA was imposed in Assam in November 1990 and has been extended every six months since then. The act is currently in force in six districts of Assam.
AFSPA which is termed as draconian by various civil society groups is also in force in Nagaland, Manipur (excluding Imphal Municipal Council Area), Changlang, Longding and Tirap districts of Arunachal Pradesh, and areas falling within the jurisdiction of the eight police stations of districts in Arunachal Pradesh bordering Assam.
Sarma said that the era of tribal militancy is over in the state as all insurgent groups are coming forward for talks with the government.
He also termed the demand for a discussion on sovereignty by ULFA(I) a stumbling block, saying his government is trying to break the impasse.
“The era of tribal militancy is over. All militant groups have come forward… Our last hurdle is ULFA(I). Excluding them, all other outfits have surrendered arms,” Sarma said.
The CM said that during interactions with people who are directly or indirectly in touch with ULFA(I) chief Paresh Barua he has learned that he is in favour of a “negotiated settlement”.
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