GUWAHATI, Sept 2 - With the process of updating the National Register of Citizens (NRC) on, the Assam Government is not keen on taking any chance on the law and order situation and that is why, the decision to extend the term of the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (AFSPA) for another six months with effect from September 1 was taken. However, the situation will be reviewed before the expiry of the present term of the Act.
Highly placed official sources told The Assam Tribune that though no untoward incident took place in any part of the State following the publication of the final draft of the NRC, the Government is not keen on taking any chance till the process is completed. Selective withdrawal of the Act from the peaceful areas of the State was considered, but later, it was decided that the Act should remain in place, at least till the process of updating the NRC is completed.
Sources said that there is no input of activities of jehadi elements from any part of the State at this moment, but there have been reports that some fundamentalist organizations have been trying to establish bases in the State. Some activities of such forces have already come to light and under the circumstances, the Government is not keen on taking any chance.
Sources pointed out that with the administration busy in the process of updating the NRC, the Government wanted the Unified Command structure in place. �The process of updating the NRC is being monitored by the Supreme Court. The dates for completion of each stage of the process are also determined by the Court. In such a scenario, if some law and order situation crops up, it will be difficult for the administration to devote enough time and energy to deal with the situation and that is why, the Unified Command structure is required to keep a close watch on the situation,� sources pointed out.
Official sources further said that though no activity of the jehadi elements has come to light in recent times, the Government does not want to be caught off guard as in the past also, activities of such groups came to light only after they indulged in some kind of action. The activities of the Jammat-ul Mujahideen, Bangladesh (JMB) in Assam came to light only after an accidental blast in West Bengal. There were even reports that one person from Assam was involved in the Bodh Gaya blast in 2013. Keeping all such issues in mind, the State Government decided to extend the term of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act for another period of six months, sources added.
However, sources admitted that there is no major threat from militant groups like the United Liberation Front of Asom (Independent) and National Democratic Front of Boroland (S) as the outfits have the capacity to indulge in acts of violence only in limited pockets of the State.
It may be mentioned here that the Act was promulgated in the entire State in November, 1990 and it is extended for periods of six months. However, on last two occasions, the Government of India refused to extend the terms of the Act because of considerable improvement of the law and order situation in the State and it was left to the State Government to take the call in regards to extension of the Act.