Panel on AFSPA removal misses deadline to submit report

In December 2021, Union Home Ministry constituted a committee to study the withdrawal of the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act from Nagaland. A six-member committee, headed by Registrar-General of India Vivek Joshi, had to submit its report within 45 days of its constitution.

This panel was formed as an aftermath of rising civilian anger against the botched

ambush by an Indian Army Unit at Oting in Nagaland’s Mon district on 4 December 2022. This ambush lead to the killing of 13 civilians.

As per Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio, the committee had 45 days i.e., by February 9, to submit its report and is yet to conclude its findings. But the Union Home Ministry’s order says the committee is to make “suitable recommendations” within three months i.e., March 26.

Naga People’s Front (NPF) demand was for removal of the AFSPA from Nagaland, except areas along the international boundary with Myanmar and inter-Statebboundaries with Assam, Arunachal Pradesh and Manipur.

The issue has made a resonance in Manipur where Assembly election is to be held in two-phases on February 27 and March 3. The NPF is an ally of the Bharatiya Janta Party (BJP) led coalition government in Manipur and is also a constituent of the Nationalist Democratic Progressive Party (NDPP) led government in Nagaland of which the BJP is also a part.

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