Assam Chief Minister (CM) Himanta Biswa Sarma on Monday, 20 December, said that the controversial Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, 1958 will continue in the state for now, adding that the government will take a call on its partial or full repeal if the law and order situation in the state remains peaceful.
The CM's statement came on a day when the Nagaland Assembly unanimously passed a resolution demanding that the Union government repeal the law from the state and rest of Northeast.
Condemning the killings of 14 civilians in the state by security forces, the resolution, moved by Nagaland CM Neiphiu Rio, demanded that the appropriate authority issue an apology for the 'massacre,' and that justice be delivered to the perpetrators.
'AFSPA’s Withdrawal Should Be Linked With Peace & Stability of the State'
Speaking to journalists, Assam CM Sarma said, "AFSPA or not cannot be a call of the government," adding that it will depend on the overall law and order situation prevailing in the state.
"Now suppose I withdraw (AFSPA), will that be reciprocated by the militant organisations? If they do not withdraw and we do, the Army will not be able to carry out any operation meaning thereby you are inviting chaos. So I think AFSPA withdrawal is linked to the peace and stability of the state," Sarma was quoted as saying by news agency PTI.
If peaceful situation continues, then at a later date, a call can be taken on whether AFSPA is required in the entire Assam or only at some places, he further said, citing example of Arunachal Pradesh which decided to withdraw the law from several parts of the state in consultation with the Union Home Ministry.
The Assam CM further asserted that no government would be willing to retain AFSPA if the law and order situation is stable.
Ever since 14 civilians were killed in Nagaland by the security forces, in a case of mistaken identity, calls for the repeal of AFSPA have been steadily growing from several quarters, including from Nagaland CM Neiphiu Rio and Meghalaya CM Conrad K Sangma.
(With inputs from PTI.)
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