File photo: Himanta Biswa Sarma

Assam chief minister Himanta Biswa Sarma had said that the controversial Armed Forces Special Power Act (AFSPA) will continue to be enforced in the state.

Sarma, on December 20, said that the government will take a decision only if the peace process continues in the state.

When most parties of the Northeast, including BJP’s allies, are strongly demanding the AFSPA to be repealed from the entire region, chief minister Sarma said that the law would continue to be enforced in his state.

“A decision on withdrawing the AFSPA would be taken only if the present peace prevails for a longer term,” he said, expressing doubts whether militant outfits would reciprocate the same manner if the AFSPA is lifted from Assam.

“No state government wants to continue with AFSPA if the law and order situation is peaceful and favourable. AFSPA withdrawal is linked with the peace and stability of the state. Recently the Arunachal Pradesh government in consultation with the Centre has withdrawn the AFSPA from certain parts of the state,” Sarma told the media.

The AFSPA, which allows the army and central paramilitary forces to conduct raids, operations, arrest anyone anywhere without prior notice or arrest warrant, is in force in Nagaland, Assam, Manipur barring the Imphal municipal council area, and certain districts of Arunachal Pradesh.

All major political parties including the Congress, the CPI-M, the CPI, the Trinamool Congress, the Naga People’s Front (NPF), the National People’s Party (NPP), the Indigenous People’s Front of Tripura (IPFT), the Nationalist Democratic Progressive Party (NDPP) and almost all other local and regional parties have been demanding the repeal of the AFSPA.

The NPP, the NPF, the IPFT, and the NDPP are the allies of the BJP in the Meghalaya, Nagaland, Tripura and Manipur governments, respectively.

Though the BJP leaders in Nagaland are strongly demanding lifting of the AFSPA from the region, the central leaders of the party have yet to disclose their stand.

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