Guwahati: Amidst the strong demand to repeal the Armed Forces (Special Power) Act from the entire northeastern region, Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma on Saturday January 1 said that some “rationalisation” regarding the contentious act is expected in the new year.
He said that the Army, which deployed in the disturbed areas under the AFSPA, has virtually withdrawn from Assam, except for five-six districts and when the current term of the AFSPA end after four months, the state government would take a “pragmatic decision” in consultation with the Union Home Ministry.
“A dynamic situation is now prevailing in Assam. Some rationalisation will be seen on AFSPA in 2022,” Sarma told the media.
The AFSPA was enforced in Assam in November 1990 and has been extended every six months.
He said that the Centre has formed a high-powered committee to look into the demand about the AFSPA in Nagaland and in the next 45 days, some positive development is expected. A vociferous agitations by almost all political parties, NGOs and Naga civil society organisations are going on in Nagaland to repeal the AFSPA after 14 people were killed and 30 other injured by the security forces in its Mon district.
The Chief Minister claimed that militancy was on the wane in Assam, with all tribal militant groups already coming forward for talks and depositing their arms and ammunition.
“The ULFA-I (United Liberation Front of Asom-Independent) has shown a positive attitude. There has been no conflict between the ULFA-I and the security forces during the past eight months. The demand for sovereignty remained the main hurdle to take forward the talks with ULFA-I,” he said.
Sarma also said that with the initiatives of the civil society and tribal organisations, specially the students’ organisation, the tribal insurgency in Assam is almost over.
“Paresh Barua (self-styled ULFA-I Commander-in-Chief) has been in the jungle since 1982. He is very positive about negotiating with the government. The Government of India and Assam government also shown very positive attitude towards the ULFA-I,” the Chief Minister said.