Northeast: Lifting AFSPA
Asia News Agency
The Centre on 26 March lifted the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, 1958 from more police station limits in Assam, Manipur and Nagaland. This is the second time in a year that the Centre has reduced areas under AFSPA in the Northeast. The Indian Express welcome the decision. “It sends out a positive message in a region that has had to bear the burden of the draconian Act for decades. The prevalence of insurgencies in almost all states in the Northeast — from the Naga rebellion that dates backs to the 1940s, to the Mizo uprising in the 1960s, radical Left groups in Manipur in the 1970s, and the ULFA in Assam in the 1980s — may arguably have necessitated the imposition of the AFSPA. The Army was sent in because the civil administration had failed to control the situation. But statistics suggest that violence in the region has been on the decline. The Centre can take some credit for this, for it has tactfully negotiated peace treaties with rebel groups, wherever possible. The time is indeed ripe for the government to reduce dependence on the AFSPA to impose its writ.”
A stable Northeast is extremely important, especially at a time when Myanmar, in areas bordering India, has turned restive, according to the paper.