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AFSPA to continue as Assam is declared a troubled State again

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Peace has not returned to the Indian north-east state Assam even after five and a half years of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), one of two major political parties in India and it is the current ruling political party of the Republic of India, since 2014. The administration is still not sure about the law and order situations in the state. Therefore, the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act AFSPA will remain in force for another 6 months. 

The center said in a statement on Saturday, that the entire state of northeastern India was declared a “troubled” area for another six months.

Presently, AFSPA, 1958 is operational in entire States of Assam, Nagaland, Manipur (except Imphal Municipal area), three districts namely Tirap, Changlang and Longding of Arunachal Pradesh and the areas falling within the jurisdiction of the eight police stations in the districts of Arunachal Pradesh, bordering the Assam.

In a statement issued on Monday, the Assam government said that under Section 3 of the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, the Assam government is identifying the entire state as a troubled area. If not withdrawn earlier, Assam will be considered as a troubled area for the next 6 months. 

However, the statement did not specify the exact reason for the ongoing AFSPA in Assam. In fact, since the nineties, almost all the states of Northeast India, including Assam, have been known as troubled areas. 

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AFSPA was first launched in Assam in 1990. After reviewing the situation every six months, it was decided to issue a new AFSPA. 

Earlier, a similar statement was issued in February this year declaring Assam a ‘Disturbed Area’. For another six months, the army will retain special powers in the BJP-ruled state. Incidentally, before coming to power in 2016, the BJP promised to restore peace in Assam. Then they tried  to bring them back to the mainstream by negotiating with various separatist organizations in Assam. In most cases, large sums of money are being offered to militant leaders. If necessary, special powers are being given to the local separatist organizations by forming separate autonomous bodies in the areas demanding separate states. This has led to success in a number of areas. 

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But separatism and terrorism have not yet been completely eradicated from Assam. Perhaps that is why Assam has been identified as a troubled area for another six months.

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