Kohima: Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio and political parties of Nagaland on Thursday welcomed the Centre’s decision to reduce the number of disturbed areas under the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (AFSPA) in the North-eastern state after decades.

But some quarters expressed dissatisfaction saying the long-standing demand of the people was the abolition of the Act itself, which was not done.

The Ministry of Home Affairs announced in New Delhi that the AFSPA will be withdrawn from 15 police station areas in seven districts of Nagaland with effect from April 1. The controversial Act is withdrawn from large parts of Assam and Manipur too.

The disturbed area notification is in force in the entire Nagaland since 1995.

The killing of 14 civilians by army personnel in December last year rose tension in Nagaland, where people protested for weeks for the withdrawal of the AFSPA.

Grateful to GoI under the leadership of @PMOIndia Shri @narendramodi ji & @AmitShah ji for reducing disturbed areas under AFSPA in the states of Nagaland, Assam & Manipur. This is a significant development towards bringing stability, security & prosperity to the North East region, Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio tweeted.

Welcoming the Centre’s move, Naga Hoho general secretary K Elu Ndang said, Our demand is complete revocation of AFSPA from all Naga inhabited areas in particular and the North East region in general.

Naga Hoho is the apex organisation of Nagas in four NE States – Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur and Nagaland.

Nagaland Minister for Planning and Coordination, Land Revenue and Parliamentary Affairs Neiba Kronu said the disturbed area tag will be removed only from a portion of the state while it will remain in the remaining areas.

The Naga People’s Front (NPF) secretary-general Achumbemo Kikon said, “We welcome the step taken by the Government of India to withdraw AFSPA from Nagaland, Assam and Manipur.”

The withdrawal of AFSPA was one of the primary focuses of the NPF during the recently concluded Manipur election, he said adding that the party is elated as the government move has fulfilled its election manifesto to some extent.

Claiming that the Act has acted only against democracy, Kikon urged the Centre to consider repealing the legislation.

State Congress working president Khriedi Theunuo said he hoped that the government would slowly inch towards withdrawing the Act from the entire state.

Naga Mothers Association (NMA) advisor Rosemary Dzuvichu termed the decision very unfair” as the demand has been to repeal the Act which “violates every kind of human rights”.

Such small favours are unacceptable, Dzuvichu said.

The NMA is a prominent civil society organisation of the state.

This is a very significant step towards achieving peace in the region! The decisive leadership displayed by the Honourable PM @narendramodi ji is highly appreciated! BJP spokesperson Mmhonlumo Kikon said.

Also read | AFSPA will continue in some areas of Nagaland, Assam, Manipur: MHA

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