Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma on Monday (22 May) announced that his government plans to remove the controversial Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (AFSPA) from the state by the end of 2023.
The announcement was made at the Commandants Conference, where CM Sarma stated that ex-military personnel would be brought in to train the police force.
"We are aiming at withdrawing AFSPA completely from Assam by the end of 2023. We will also rope in ex-military personnel to train our police force," CM Sarma said.
During his speech at the Commandants' Conference, Sarma said that AFSPA may be lifted from the entire state by November, allowing the replacement of Central Armed Police Forces (CAPFs) by Assam Police Battalions.
The presence of CAPFs, as required by law, will remain in place.
Last year, the Disturbed Areas notification under AFSPA was removed from the entire state of Assam, except for about nine districts and one sub-division of another district.
However, starting 1 April 2023, the notification was lifted from one more district in the state, which meant that AFSPA was restricted to only eight districts of Assam, reports Indian Express.
The AFSPA provides special powers to armed forces that can be imposed on a state or parts of it after it is declared "disturbed" under Section 3.
The act has been called draconian due to its sweeping powers given to the armed forces, allowing them to open fire against anyone carrying arms and ammunition or in contravention of the law and also arrest individuals without warrants on a "reasonable suspicion" basis.
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