Reduction of Army Presence as an Alternative Measure
Nagaland & Manipur Deemed ‘Troubled’ States
Sources pointed out that imposition of the Act depends on the Centre’s assessment of the situation and demands of the State governments. As the situation in Tripura is under control, the Centre wanted to withdraw the AFSPA and after the State government also accepted the same, the Act was withdrawn from the State. In Nagaland, the Act is still in place as the Centre is of the view that it is necessary to keep the situation under control and in Manipur, both the Central and State governments are in favour of continuing with the Act.
In case of Assam, the Central agencies had reported that the Act could be withdrawn from some parts of the State, which have very little militant activity. But the previous government in the State wanted that the Act should continue and the whole State is still under the AFSPA. The new government is yet to give a different view in this regard.
The Act is in place in three districts of Arunachal Pradesh because of reports of militants having strong bases in those places, while of late, the Myanmar-Arunachal Pradesh border has also become vulnerable to movement of militants. The Act is not imposed in the entire State of Meghalaya but only in the 20-km belt along the inter-state boundary with Assam.
Over Dependence on Armed Forces
Though the AFSPA will not be scrapped in near future, the Centre is of the view that with the improvement of the overall law-and-order situation, the “over dependence” on the Army by the States of the Northeast region should be reduced and the police forces of the States should be strengthened to deal with the situation. The Central paramilitary forces are also deployed to assist the police in maintaining the situation under control, sources pointed out.
Sources also said that the Centre has been providing assistance to the state governments to modernise their own police forces and funds are also given to raise new India reserve battalions. The state governments should take full advantage of the same to strengthen their own police forces instead of depending too much on the army, sources said.
By R Dutta Choudhury