AFSPA withdrawn from four districts in Assam, extended in other four

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Guwahati, October 1 (IANS) The Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (AFSPA) has been extended in four Assam districts for six months, with effect from Sunday, police said.

At a programme to mark Assam Police Day, DGP G P Singh said that Dibrugarh, Tinsukia, Sivasagar, and Charaideo districts would continue to be listed as "disturbed areas".

These four districts in upper Assam have historically served as ULFA strongholds. The "disturbed areas" notification is valid for six months, after which the Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) may decide to prolong it.

The disturbed area tag has been withdrawn from four districts Jorhat, Golaghat, Karbi Anglong, and Dima Hasao with effect from October 1, he said.

Since 1990, the entire state has been covered by the "disturbed areas" notification. The "disturbed areas" notification under AFSPA was, however, removed by the Centre last year from all but nine districts in the state.

It was further removed from an Assam district in March.

Last month, the state government had proposed to the Centre that the disturbed areas notification be removed from all eight districts with effect from October 1, citing "the significant improvement in the security situation of the State and subsequent accelerated development."

AFSPA grants special powers to the Indian Armed Forces to maintain public order in notified "disturbed areas" by the union Home ministry.