The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) on June 30 extended the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act in Nagaland for another six months till December 31, 2021.
Notably, Nagaland has been under AFSPA for nearly 60 years now. AFSPA was not withdrawn from Nagaland even after a framework agreement was signed by Naga insurgent groups and government interlocutor RN Ravi in the presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2015.
The other states in the Northeast that are under AFSPA by a central order are Assam, Manipur, and Arunachal Pradesh.
The AFSPA gives the Indian Army sweeping powers to search, arrest, and open fire to maintain public order in the state. It also offers the Indian Army a degree of immunity from prosecution – something that has often been criticised by civil rights groups.
The MHA's decision to maintain a status quo in Nagaland with regard to AFSPA comes even as insurgency in the state has seen a significant declining trend.
In April 2021, the Government of India had extended ceasefire agreements with three insurgent groups of Nagaland -- National Socialist Council of Nagaland/NK (NSCN/NK), National Socialist Council of Nagaland/Reformation (NSCN/R), and National Socialist Council of Nagaland/K-Khango (NSCN/K-Khango) -- by another year till April 2022.