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Centre withdraws ‘Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act’ in Meghalaya, Arunachal

Tuesday, April 24, 2018 • Common Comments

Centre withdraws ‘Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act’ in Meghalaya, Arunachal

Union Ministry of Home Affairs has issued an order withdrawing the often controversial yet effective ‘Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, 1958’ in force in the north-eastern States of Megahalaya and Arunachal Pradesh.  The decision has been taken in view of the increased defence activities in both the States.

The Act was in force in terrorism-affected States such as Jammu & Kashmir, Assam, Meghalayam, Manipur, Nagaland and Arunachal Pradesh so as to keep an eye on internal terror groups as well.  The Act paved the way for instant action against terro groups such as Bodoland activists, Naxalites, Maoists, Naga Liberation Front terrorists, etc.  It gave armed forces powers to ‘shoot-at-sight’, arrest suspected persons and search ‘doubtful’ premises without getting prior permission.

Human rights activists had been alleging that the Act had been grossly misused in J&K.  In north-eastern States, the terror threat hasn’t been as serious as it was a few years back; citing this, various NGOs and social activists had been demanding withdrawal of the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act.  Even Amnesty International, a global human rights watchdog, had demanded withdrawal of the Act.

A senior official of the Union Home Ministry informed yesterday that the above-said Act stood fully withdrawn from Meghalaya and from 8 police station limits in Arunachal Pradesh with effect from 31st March this year.  The Act would, however, continue to remain in force in Nagaland, Manipur and Jammu & Kashmir.

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