The Union Home Ministry on Monday completely revoked the controversial Armed Forces Special Powers Act from Meghalaya while diluting it in other regions of Arunachal Pradesh. Till September 2017, 40 per cent of Meghalaya was under AFSPA. However, after recent review in consultations with the state government, AFSPA was removed completly from Meghalaya, a MHA statement said, reports said.
Similarly, AFSPA is now applicable only in 8 police stations in Arunachal, down from 16 police stations in 2017. In another decision, the Home Ministry enhanced the aid under the surrender-cum-rehabilitation policy for militants in northeast from Rs 1 lakh to Rs 4 lakh. The policy will be applicable from April 1, 2018.
The government also relaxed the restricted area permit and protected area permit for foreigners visiting Manipur, Mizoram and Nagaland. Restrictions, however, will remain for “countries of concern”, which include Pakistan, Afghanistan and China.
In the last 4 years, there has been a decline of 63 per cent in insurgency-related incidents in the region, while there have been a reduction of 83 per cent in civilian deaths and 40 per cent in casualties of security forces in 2017, said a statement from the Home Ministry. However, when compared to 2000, insurgency-related incidents have gone down by 85 per cent in the northeast in 2017. Moreover, there has been a 96 per cent reduction in casualties of security forces as compared to 1997.
In March 2018, the MHA said they had sanctioned the deployment of 10 India Reserve Battallion in northeast – two each for Assam, Arunachal, Manipur, Meghalaya and Tripura. They are being raised to replace central forces delployed in the northeast.