In Nagaland, where the army is holding a court of inquiry into an ambush that went catastrophically wrong on December 4, the contentious statute AFSPA, which provides security personnel broad powers, has been extended for another six months, until June 30,2022.
AFSPA to operate in the state
The Armed Forces (Special) Authority Act, grants the military broad powers to operate wherever that has been labelled a “disturbed region”; no military personnel in an area where these forces are in effect can be prosecuted without the permission of the central government.
Nagaland’s rights groups, as well as the state administration, have been pleading with the federal government to repeal AFSPA.
The incident of Dec 4
Anti-AFSPA protests have lately intensified after an ambush by the army’s Para Special Forces went horrifically wrong in Nagaland on December 4, killing 13 people returning from night labour in a mine.
According to reports, the Nagaland assembly unanimously agreed on December 20 to demand that the forces be repealed throughout the northeast, particularly in the state. The prospect of withdrawing AFSPA from Nagaland has been investigated by a five-member group led by top bureaucrat Vivek Joshi.
The army has also consented to allow Nagaland’s Special Investigation Team (SIT) access to soldiers who were involved in the ambush on December 4 to record their comments.
Because Nagaland is subject to AFSPA, it is unclear how the state-level investigation would continue.
For several years, Nagaland’s AFSPA has been extended every six months, despite the fact that it has long been a “disturbed area.” The first step in applying AFSPA, a statute that dates back to the colonial era and was used to suppress protests, is to declare a location a “disturbed area.”