Recently, the Home Ministry has declared Nagaland again as a ‘disturbed area’ using the powers conferred under section 3 of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act-AFSPA. Nagaland has been declared a disturbed area for a period of six months from December 30, 2018, as per the orders of the Central Government.
The Indian state Nagaland, which was bordering Myanmar’s border, has been declared as a disturbed area several times before due to internal rebellion and terrorist activities.
Significantly, AFSPA empowers the security forces to operate the operations anywhere and arrest anyone without prior notice.
It has been said in the notification of the Home Ministry that the central government is of the opinion that the entire Nagaland state area is in turbulent and dangerous situation and it is necessary to use armed forces to help it.
In a notification issued by the Central Government, it has been stated that in such a way, the Central Government declares that the whole state of Nagaland under the Act, under the provisions of Section 3 of the Armed Forces (Privilege) Act, 1958, For a period of six months the region is declared a disturbance.
History of AFSPA
The Armed Forces (Privileges) Act (AFSPA) was brought in 1958 through an ordinance and within three months it was granted legal deposit.
1958 and subsequent Northeast India: AFSPA was implemented in 1958 in Manipur and Assam for immunity from increased separatism, violence and foreign invasions in the North-Eastern States since the constitution was enacted in India.
It was implemented in all North-Eastern India including Assam, Manipur, Tripura, Meghalaya, Arunachal Pradesh, Mizoram and Nagaland after some amendments in 1972.
AFSPA was imposed on February 16, 1997, due to militancy violence in Tripura, which was withdrawn in May 2015 after 18 years of improving the situation.
When is there any area disturbed
Under the AFSPA, the central government deploys central security forces by declaring a state or region as turbulent, based on the report of the governor.
Due to differences or disputes between different religious, racial, linguistic, regional groups, castes, communities, the state or central government declares an area as turmoil.
Section 3 of the AFSPA Act gives the Governor of states and Union Territories the power to issue an official notification on the Gazette of India, after which the Center gets the right to send armed forces to civilian areas.
According to the Disturbed Areas (Special Court) Act, 1976, the status quo will be maintained for the minimum three months in the area, once declared as turbulent.
State governments may suggest that whether this act should be implemented or not, but the power of the governor or the center to take or take his suggestion under section 3 of this Act is with the governor or the Center.
According to an official of the Home Ministry, the decision to declare Nagaland as a ‘disturbed area’ has been taken as the murder, looting and extortion continue in different areas of the state.
AFSPA in Nagaland
AFSPA is applicable in Nagaland for several decades. This law was not removed even after the signing of a framework agreement on August 3, 2015 in the presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi between the Secretary-General of NGO militant group NSCN-IM and TN Muivah, the government’s interlocutor RN Ravi.
The framework agreement was held for 18 years after 80 rounds of talks, the first breakthrough was in 1997 when the ceasefire agreement was reached after decades of insurgency in Nagaland.