Army personnel conducting a counter-insurgency operation to nab the culprits behind the killing of Khonsa West MLA Tirong Aboh, 10 others, in Tirap district of Arunachal Pradesh Credit: File image

Itanagar: The Union government on Tuesday extended the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (AFSPA) in the Tirap, Changlang, and Longding (TCL) districts of Arunachal Pradesh for another six months.

A notification issued by the Union ministry of home affairs declared TCL as “disturbed areas” under the AFSPA, 1958.

The decision was taken after reviewing the law and order situation in the three districts and the continuous activities of banned insurgent groups in the Northeast, the notification said.

Bedsides the three districts, AFSPA has also been extended to four other police station areas of the state bordering Assam.

The police stations are Namsai and Mahadevpur in Namsai district, Sunpura police station in Lohit district and Roing police station in Lower Dibang Valley district.

“Now, therefore, Tirap, Changlang and Longding districts in Arunachal Pradesh and the areas falling within the jurisdiction of the following four police stations in the districts of Arunachal Pradesh, bordering the State of Assam, are declared as ‘disturbed area’ under Section 3 of the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, 1958 up to March 31, 2020 w.e.f. October 1, 2019, unless withdrawn earlier,” the notification from the MHA read.

The controversial Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, which gives sweeping powers to security forces, was partially removed from three of nine districts of Arunachal Pradesh in April this year.

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AFSPA had been withdrawn from the Seijosa police station area in East Kameng district, Balemu and Bhalukpong police stations in West Kameng district and Balijan police station in Papum Pare district.

The MHA notification had then also stated that the AFSPA will continue to be enforced in the aforementioned three districts and police stations till September 30.

AFSPA, 1958 is an Act of the Parliament of India that grants special powers to the Indian Armed Forces the power to maintain public order in “disturbed areas”.

According to The Disturbed Areas (Special Courts) Act, 1976 once declared ‘disturbed’, the area has to maintain status quo for a minimum of 3 months.

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