‘After reduction of AFSPA in NE, Army’s focus on northern borders increased’
Guwahati, May 16 (IANS): Eastern Army Commander Lieutenant General Rana Pratap Kalita said on Monday that after the reduction of AFSPA in the northeastern states, some portion of the army has been withdrawn from counter-insurgency operations and tasked with focusing on the primary front in the northern borders.
While talking to the media here, Lt Gen Kalita said that the army is happy because the troops can now focus on its primary duty to deal with external threats.
“The capability of the Central Armed Police Forces (CAPFs) and the state police has been enhanced tremendously,” he pointed out.
Home Minister Amit Shah had on March 31 announced that the operation of AFSPA (Armed Forces (Special Power) Act, 1958) has been reduced in three northeastern states — Nagaland, Assam and Manipur.
It has been withdrawn with effect from April 1 from different areas under 15 police stations in the valley districts of Manipur, revoked from 7 out of 16 districts in Nagaland, while in Assam, it was completely removed from 23 districts and partially from one district.
Stating that the security situation in northeast India has improved, the Eastern Army Commander said: “In Tripura, Meghalaya and Mizoram, the army has been de-inducted. In some pockets in Assam, ULFA-I is still there.”
“In some areas of Arunachal Pradesh, there is some disturbance. In Nagaland, almost all the militant groups are under ceasefire except one. Some outfits are active in Manipur and the state accounted for 56 per cent of last year’s violence in northeastern states.”
Claiming that militancy in the northeast has lost its ideological moorings, Kalita said: “Most of these recruitments (in ULFA-I) have taken place through social media where people are motivated. I was given to understand that most of them have a criminal background.”