Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act

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Overview:

The central government has extended for another six months the application of the disturbed area under the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, AFSPA in 12 districts of Nagaland and Arunachal Pradesh.

About:

  • The AFSPA will be extended for six months in nine districts -- Dimapur, Niuland, Chumoukedima, Mon, Kiphire, Noklak, Phek, Peren, and Zunheboto -- and 16 police stations areas in four other districts -- Kohima, Mokokchung, Longleng, and Wokha of Nagaland.
  • It has been extended in certain parts of five other districts of the two northeastern states to facilitate the armed forces to continue the anti-insurgency operations.

 

AFSPA: 

  • It is a law which gives armed forces (Army, the Air Force and Central paramilitary forces) the special powers and immunity to maintain public order in “disturbed areas”. 
  • When is it applied?It can be applied only after an area has been declared “disturbed” under section 2 of the act. 
  • What is a Disturbed area? An area can be considered to be disturbed due to differences or disputes among different religious, racial, language or regional groups or castes or communities. 
  • Who declares an area as disturbed? Section (3) of AFSPA empowers the governor of the state/Union territory to issue an official notification declaring the state or a region within as a “disturbed area”, after which the centre can decide whether to send in armed forces. 
  • The ‘special powers’ of armed forces under Section 4 are: 
    • ‘Power to use force, including open fire’ at an individual if he violates laws which prohibit (a) the assembly of five or more persons; or (b) carrying of weapons. 
    • ‘power to arrest’ without a warrant; (Under section 5 the Armed Forces have to hand over the arrested person to the nearest Police Station “with the least possible delay”. 
    • ‘power to seize and search’ without any warrant any premise. 
  • These armed forces are immune from prosecution unless Union Government provides sanction to the prosecuting agencies. 

 


Source : All India Radio