PM: Centre wants AFSPA removed from entire northeast

GUWAHATI: The Centre is working “speedily” towards revoking the contentious Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act from the entire northeast in acknowledgement of a 75% decline in militant violence in the region over the past eight years, PM Narendra Modi said during a whistle-stop tour of Assam on Thursday that saw him inaugurate seven cancer hospitals and lay the foundation for another seven.
“AFSPA was first revoked in Tripura and then in Meghalaya,” Modi said at a “peace, unity and development rally” in Karbi Anglong’s Diphu, 250km from Guwahati. “Due to proper control of the situation, AFSPA has been removed from most parts of the state (Assam). We are trying to withdraw it from the remaining parts too. The Act is also in force in some areas of Nagaland and Manipur. We intend to revoke it completely.”
The trigger for the latest campaign to withdraw the legislation, which vests powers on the armed forces to search, arrest and shoot anyone on suspicion of militant activity, was the botched Army special forces operation in Nagaland’s Mon in December that led to 14 civilian deaths.
Modi said the inclusion of outfits from Karbi Anglong in the peace process since last year was indicative of the Centre’s roadmap. Karbi Anglong is among three hill districts of Assam with a majority tribal population.

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