AFSPA (The Armed Forces Special Powers) Act has been extended in Assam for six months effective from August 28. According to a government notification, this decision was taken after reviewing the law and order situation in the state on Saturday. The release stated that the entire state of Assam has been declared as a 'disturbed area' and it will remain so until withdrawn later. The declaration was made by the state home and political department under Section 3 of the AFSPA Act.
As per the official release from the state government, "Consequent upon review of law and order situation in Assam, in the past six months, the state government vide a notification issued to this effect by the Home and Political Department, Assam and as per Section 3 of the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, 1958, has declared the entire state of Assam as 'Disturbed Area' w.e.f 28-08-2019 up to six months unless withdrawn earlier."
The Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) was introduced in 1958 to tackle the disturbed areas of Northeast India. The act has been continuing in Assam since 1990. Earlier in May this year, there were contemplations of declaring the state of Assam to be declared 'AFSPA-free'. However, after the recent review of the law and order situation, the application of the Act has been extended. It gives security and armed forces to maintain a public order in a disturbed area. They can also conduct operations and arrest anyone without any prior notice anywhere, even search without a warrant. The arrested person can be taken into custody or can be handed over to the nearest police station with a report. In cases where according to the army, if a person or a group of people is breaching the law, they have the right to open fire after giving a warning.
A 'disturbed area' can be declared under Section 3 of the AFSPA Act that empowers the Central Government or the Governor of the State or an administrator of the Union Territory to issue an official notification. Further, the Centre can send in armed forces for civilian aid. An area can be declared disturbed due to several disputes or differences in the State.