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Delhi has 'silently extended' harsh AFSPA act to my state: Arunachal CM
By Rupesh Dutta
Delhi has 'silently extended' harsh AFSPA act to my state: Arunachal CM

The union government has "silently extended" the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) to "entire state of Arunachal Pradesh" without consulting the state government and appears keen to deal with the insurgency in border areas on its own, state Chief minister Nabam Tuki has said.

 Tuki said the central government could have tightened security in areas of the state that border Nagaland and Assam instead of extending the "harsh act in the entire state."
"The movement of insurgents is in these areas and not the mainland of Arunachal Pradesh," Tuki told writer in an interview during a visit in Delhi.

Tuki, who heads a Congress government in the state, said that there was an increase in the number of insurgent camps in areas bordering Nagaland and Assam but there has not been any increase in insurgent activity in other parts of the state.

"Can the Centre know better than the state government?" he asked.

AFSPA has been in force in Tirap, Changlang and Longding districts of Arunachal Pradesh since 1991 after they were categorized as disturbed areas. It was subsequently extended to a 20-km belt in districts that share borders with Assam.

The Bharatiya Janata Party-led central government, in an order last month, extended the controversial AFSPA to other areas of Arunchal Pradesh.

AFSPA grants special powers to the armed forces in areas declared "disturbed" including arrest without warrant of a person who has committed cognizable offence or is suspected to have done so. It allows them to enter and search any premises, to stop and search any vehicle reasonably suspected. It gives powers to personnel to fire upon those acting unlawfully for the maintenance of public order

Tuki, 51, who is into his second term as chief minister, said that it was due to efforts of his government that insurgent outfits such as National Socialist Council of Nagalim (Issac-Muivah), United Liberation Front of Assam (Independent), National Democratic Front of Bodoland (NDFB) could not extend their reach in the state.

"The central government has not been able to understand that it is because of my government's efforts that insurgency has not been able to reach the mainland Arunachal Pradesh from the bordering areas," he said.

Tuki said "if the central government was aware of it, they would have have consulted Arunachal government (before extending AFSPA),"

Tuki said he had got to know of the extension of AFSPA in his state through media reports.

"I met Home Minister Rajnath Singh and urged him to reconsider it. It is the common people who will be affected. The central government should see the atmosphere in my state and then take a decision."

Tuki, who attended the 64th plenary meeting of the North East Council here, said that extension of AFSPA in the state has made people apprehensive.

"It has led to a panic among people and they fear that the situation will became similar to that in Manipur, where there have been several controversies regarding the AFSPA," Tuki told IANS.

Asked about reasons for increase of camps in the bordering areas of Arunachal Pradesh, Tuki said that there were several reasons and both the state and Centre need to understand them in a spirit of mutual understanding.

"Arunachal Pradesh has been an island of peace. Never ever any insurgent group has emerged from the state. But several major and minor militant groups have indeed tried to infiltrate seeing the peaceful atmosphere in the state, he said.

Tuki said the Centre should reconsider its decision on AFSPA

"If they don't, I will tell the home ministry about the consequent problems," he said.

"I will wait for some time to see how the Centre deals with my request. I have to look after problems of my own people. I cannot allow them to face problems because of the Act," he said.


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