DIMAPUR, July 26 � Nagaland Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio has clarified on the issue of extension of the Disturbed Area Act in Nagaland under Armed Forces Special Power Act 1958 (AFSPA).
In a lengthy statement, the Chief Minister reminded that the AFSPA was enacted in 1958 essentially to facilitate the Indian Army in fighting the armed insurgency in the North East. Noting that at that point of time the only notable armed insurgency in the region was Naga insurgency, he said it can safely be said that the immediate motive of the Government of India in bringing out the AFSPA was essentially to deal with Naga insurgency.
He also pointed out that Section 3 of the AFSPA empowers the Central Government to declare any area within the State or Union Territory to which the Act applies as Disturbed Area by a notofication in official Gazette and only after such declaration, the special power conferred on the armed forces under AFSPA can be exercised.
On the role of the State Government, Rio agreed that before renewal of the declaration of the disturbed area under the Act, the Central Government seeks the views of the State Government concerned. In this regard, he said, in view of the ongoing peace process and the improving law and order situation, the Government of Nagaland has repeatedly been conveying to the Central Government that it is not in favour of the declaration of the State as disturbed area under AFSPA.
However, despite opposition from the State Government, the Central Government has been extending the Act from time to time �ostensibly on the ground that the Naga political insurgency for secession and political sovereignty is continuing till today�.
�It may, therefore, be seen that although the Centre seeks the views of the State Government in the matter, it has always been overruling latter�s views, and continues to declare Nagaland as disturbed area every year,� the Chief Minister�s statement said.
Stating that the latest declaration has been made by the Centre, extending the period for one year beyond June 30, 2011, Rio felt �this issue should not be used any more for political mud slinging and false accusations without properly understanding the history and underlying motive of the Centre in declaring Nagaland as a disturbed area�.