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The Opposition in the Assam Assembly on February 22 created ruckus and slammed the notification issued by the Centre empowering the Assam Rifles personnel to arrest anyone and search a place without a warrant in the border districts of Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, Nagaland and Mizoram.

The Congress, AIUDF and Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) fully opposed the notification issued by Ministry of Home Affairs.

According to the Home Ministry notification, “an officer of the rank corresponding to that of the lowest rank of members of the Assam Rifles” has been given these powers under the Code of Criminal Procedure.

Opposition leader of Assam Legislative Assembly, Debabrata Saikia said “this (notification) is not acceptable. It’s unconstitutional and by this power, it will destroy the human rights and fundamental rights of Northeast people.” Saikia termed the move as manifestation of an “undeclared Emergency”, especially in the Northeast.

“The notification negates the right to freedom of movement guaranteed to citizens by the Constitution of India and hence poses a threat to democracy. Prime Minister Narendra Modi had in his Independence Day speech last year promised to withdraw the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) from the Northeast states,” he said.

“Earlier, too, during a pre-election rally in Imphal, Modi had promised to withdraw the controversial AFSPA if the BJP formed the government at the Centre,” Saikia said, adding that the prime minister has exposed his own duplicity by resorting to the undemocratic tactics by giving powers arbitrarily to the Assam Rifles, instead of keeping his word on the AFSPA.

Media reports on February 22 suggested that the Ministry of Home Affairs has put on hold its notification. The notification will be revisited in consultation with the state government concerned, according to MHA officials.

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