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Ramdas Potale asked: What could be the consequences of the Tripura government’s decision to withdraw AFSPA from the state? Is there an option to AFSPA?

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  • Namrata Goswami replies: The decision to withdraw the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act or the AFSPA from Tripura would have positive consequences for the state. Promulgated in the state in February 1997 in the aftermath of series of kidnappings by the National Liberation Front of Tripura (NLFT), the Act has been renewed every six months for the last 18 years. However, when it came up for renewal this year, the Tripura government sought the advice of all state departments including the security forces as to whether the Act could be withdrawn given that the state has not seen insurgent violence for many years now. Tripura is also doing economically reasonably well, and is one of the best governed states in the country. With the necessary clearances from the security forces as well the government departments, the Act was finally withdrawn.

    Withdrawal of the Act means that the state can promote itself as an insurgency free area, thereby drawing greater investments for its internal development and further uplifting the lives of its people. The state has enacted several measures to cater for the needs of its indigenous people, from whom the insurgency had primarily drawn its recruits. Given that the law and order is a state subject and, more importantly, with the Tripura government having reputation for good governance, withdrawal of the AFSPA from the state could be seen as a positive development in the region. In case illegal activities crop up again, given that the state is located in the Northeast region which suffers from insurgency and various illegal activities, Tripura can always take recourse to other acts such as the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.

    Posted on June 26, 2015