The Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) on Thursday, 30 December, declared the entirety of Nagaland as a “disturbed” area under the contentious Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, 1958, for another extended period of six months.
A gazette notification issued by the Central department opined that the 'whole of Nagaland is in such a disturbed and dangerous condition that the use of armed forces in aid of civil power is necessary.'
The notification read:
“Now, therefore, in exercise of the powers conferred by Section 3 of the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, 1958 (No. 28 of 1958), the Central Government hereby declares that the whole of the said State of Nagaland to be a ‘disturbed area’ for a period of six months with effect from 30 December 2021, for the purpose of the said Act."
AFSPA allows for armed forces to be conferred with sweeping powers to operate in areas designated as 'disturbed' and grants them immunity from prosecution without centre's sanction.
Renewed Calls for Withdrawal of AFSPA: Events So Far
Thursday's development comes after the MHA set up a committee, headed by Registrar General and Census Commissioner of India, Vivek Joshi, to examine the possibility of withdrawing the contentious Act from the state.
Recently, after as many as 14 civilians were killed by the Indian army in Nagaland's Oting village earlier in the month, the decades-long demands to repeal the controversial law once again came to the fore in the political sphere.
On 20 December, the Nagaland Legislative Assembly had unanimously passed a resolution demanding that the Centre revoke the act from the state and rest of the Northeast.
"The House appreciates and supports citizens and civil society organizations in their demand for repealing of AFSPA and delivery of justice while appealing to all sections to follow democratic norms and non-violence in our collective endeavour towards realization of peace and delivery of justice," the resolution noted.