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AFSPA Extension in Assam: A License for Atrocities or Essential Security Measure?

29 Mar,2024 02:45 PM, by: Super Admin
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The extension of the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (AFSPA) in four districts of Assam, namely Tinsukia, Dibrugarh, Charaideo, and Sivasagar, has sparked renewed debate and criticism over its continued implementation. The state government's decision to prolong the enforcement of AFSPA until September 30, 2024, has reignited concerns regarding its implications for human rights and civil liberties in the region.


AFSPA, initially imposed in Assam in November 1990, has been subject to periodic extensions every six months following a review by the state government. Despite the recent withdrawal of AFSPA from four districts of Assam in October 2023, its persistent application in other areas has drawn condemnation from various quarters.


Critics argue that AFSPA grants excessive powers to the armed forces and Central Armed Police Forces (CAPF), allowing for arbitrary arrests, extrajudicial killings, and other human rights abuses. The law's provision of immunity from prosecution and legal recourse for security forces has been cited as contributing to a sense of impunity and a culture of violence.


The tragic incident on December 4, 2021, involving the killing of six civilians by a unit of the 21st Para Special Forces of the Indian Army near the village of Oting in the Mon District of Nagaland, further underscores the urgent need for a re-evaluation of AFSPA. Subsequent clashes resulting in additional casualties have only intensified calls for accountability and justice.


While security forces argue that AFSPA is necessary for maintaining public order in conflict-affected areas, critics contend that peace and stability cannot be achieved through draconian measures and undemocratic means. The widespread misuse and documented instances of human rights violations associated with AFSPA underscore its incompatibility with the principles of a democratic society.


As the debate surrounding AFSPA continues, there is a pressing need for meaningful dialogue, legal reforms, and accountability mechanisms to address the underlying grievances and ensure the protection of human rights in conflict-affected regions. The extension of AFSPA in Assam and the region serves as a stark reminder of the challenges and complexities inherent in balancing security concerns with the fundamental rights and freedoms of civilians.

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author's. They do not purport to reflect the opinions or views of The Critical Script or its editor.

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