In the wake of the Oting massacre in Nagaland, Manipur Chief Minister N Biren Singh claimed that the state government has asked the Centre to remove the ‘Disturbed Area’ tag from Manipur.

However, in an apparent U-turn, the Manipur government has extended the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (AFSPA) for another year.

Also Read: Broken, traumatised citizens of Oting yearn for peace, AFSPA-free Nagaland

On December 8, a state Home department’s notification stated the Governor of Manipur has given “ex-post facto approval to declare the entire State of Manipur excluding the Imphal Municipal Area as “Disturbed Area” for a period of 1(one) year with retrospective effect from December 1, 2021.”

The notification put an end to any speculations over AFSPA status in Manipur. The notification issued by Special Secretary (Home) Government of Manipur H Gyan Prakash maintained: “that due to violent activities of various extremist/insurgent groups, the entire State of Manipur is in such a disturbed condition that the use of Armed Forces in aid of civil power is necessary.”

Interestingly, almost the same language was used while extending AFSPA in Nagaland.

The notification stated that the Governor of Manipur is of the opinion that the areas within the State of Manipur be declared as a “Disturbed Area” under the provisions of the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, 1958, as amended from time to time.

The governor issued the notification exercising the powers conferred by Section 3 of the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, 1958 (Act No.28 of 1958).

The northeast, and especially Nagaland, witnessed a widespread protest demanding AFSPA repeal and various Chief Ministers, including Meghalaya CM Conrad Sangma, Nagaland CM Neiphiu Rio had come down heavily against the act which gives sweeping powers to armed forces.

The Manipur Human Rights Commission has observed that AFSPA is now an absolutely undemocratic and unjust law to be rooted out completely given India’s largest democracy in the world. The commission had given several grounds for the withdrawal of “disturbed area” status from Manipur.

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