Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act: AFSPA

Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act: AFSPA


  • Recently, after the death of 14 people including villagers in the firing of soldiers in Nagaland, once again the demand for removal of Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) has intensified. Nagaland and Meghalaya have raised the demand for the removal of this law.

Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act: AFSPA: Today Current Affairs

  • In fact, after independence, extremism was growing rapidly in the northeastern region of the country including Nagaland. The need for the army was felt to deal with the insurgency.
  • On September 11, 1958, the Central Government passed the AFSPA Act to help the army in this action against extremism. In the year 1972, some amendments were also made in it.
  • AFSPA is applicable in many states of the country. These include Manipur, Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya and Nagaland etc.
  • Under this law, the central or state government has the right to declare any Indian territory as “disturbed”.
  • Under section (3) of the AFSPA Act, if an area is “disturbed” in the eyes of the central government, then it should also be agreed with the state government whether that area is “disturbed” or not.
  • However, state governments can only make suggestions. The Governor or the Center has the power to accept or not to accept his suggestion.

What is a ‘disturbed’ or ‘disturbed’ area? The Hindu Analysis

  • Any area declared as a ‘disturbed’ area under Section 3 of the AFSPA Act. Due to disputes between different religious, racial, language, regional groups, castes and communities, the state or central government declares an area as disturbed.
  • According to the Disturbed Areas (Special Courts) Act, 1976, once an area is declared ‘disturbed’, then security forces are deployed there for at least three months.

What rights does the army get when AFSPA is implemented?

 When an area is declared “disturbed”, then the officers of the armed forces there get many powers as per section 4 of this law-

  • This law gives the army the right to arrest any person without a warrant. They can use any kind of power during the arrest.
  • The officer of the security force can search any place on the basis of mere suspicion and if he sees any danger then he can get that place destroyed.
  • A vehicle can be searched on suspicion of illegally carrying a weapon after stopping it.
  • If a person breaks the law, he can be shot directly. And in the event of the death of that person during this period, he shall not be liable for firing or any officer giving such order.
  • If a person is arrested, he has to be produced at the nearest police station soon. Also the reason has to be given.

What are the arguments in favor and against AFSPA?

  • It is because of the powers conferred by this law that our armed forces are able to do their job better in areas prone to terrorism and in cases of sedition.
  • In other words, this law is helpful in maintaining the unity and integrity of the country. The provisions of this law have played an important role in maintaining law and order in disturbed areas.  At the same time, the morale of the armed forces has increased due to the additional rights provided by this law.
  • Although there have been allegations of misuse by the armed forces since its enactment, aside from the positive aspects of this law. He has also been facing allegations like fake encounters and sexual harassment.
  • For example, if we look at the current incident itself, then the most questions are being raised about two points in it. The soldiers should have given a warning before firing the first shot, while it is alleged that this was not done.
  • Second, it is necessary to coordinate with the local police before running any operation, while the local police says that it was not aware of any such operation.
  • Similar allegations have been made in other cases also. Furthermore, decades after its enactment, this law has not been successful in restoring peace in the troubled areas, perhaps that is why the demand for its removal has started intensifying.

Here we mention all information about Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act: AFSPA Today Current Affairs, The Hindu Analysis.

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