Agartala, Sept 29 (IANS): Tripura has extended for another six months the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA), citing militant activities along the border with Bangladesh, an official said on Wednesday.
"Though terrorism has come down in Tripura significantly, the government is averse to taking any chances for some more time," a Home Department official told IANS.
The controversial anti-terror law enacted 52 years ago gives sweeping powers to the security forces to curb terrorism.
"In some areas of the state bordering Bangladesh, the National Liberation Front of Tripura (NLFT) and All Tripura Tiger Force (ATTF) are active," the official added.
Of the 64 police stations in Tripura, the AFSPA is in force in 34 police stations and partially in six since 1997.
"The State-level coordination committee, supervising the anti-insurgency operation, reviewed the overall situation and suggested to extend AFSPA's term by six months. The government has accepted the recommendation," the official said.
Human rights activists and tribal based political parties describe the act as "draconian" and want its repeal.
"Innocent people are victimised by security forces in the name of anti-insurgency operations," Indigenous Nationalist Party of Tripura (INPT)spokesman Shrota Ranjan Khisa said.
Director General of Tripura Police Pranay Sahaya has refuted charges of human rights violation.
"The success of Tripura in curbing terrorism was discussed in the conference of directors general and inspectors general of police in Delhi last month," he told reporters.
He quoted Prime Minister Manmohan Singh as saying that Tripura was the best governed state in the country in terms of curbing terrorism.
Besides Tripura, the AFSPA is also in force in Assam, Nagaland and Manipur, where rights activists and political parties have been struggling to revoke the law.
In view of the outcry against AFSPA, the central government had appointed a five-member committee headed by Supreme Court judge BP Jeevan Reddy to examine the necessity of the act.
After visiting the concerned States, the committee submitted its report to the government in October 2006 but its findings have not been made public.