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Context: The Manipur government has decided to extend the imposition of the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (AFSPA) for an additional six months, encompassing the entire state, except for the jurisdiction of 19 police stations located in seven districts within the Imphal Valley.
- The extension implies that the "disturbed area" status under AFSPA will persist in all the hill districts, which primarily house tribal communities. In contrast, the valley districts have seen a gradual withdrawal of AFSPA provisions since 2022 due to what the government perceives as a "significant improvement" in the security situation there.
- This move to extend AFSPA has come amidst heightened security concerns in Manipur. The army had been actively advocating for the reinstatement of AFSPA in the valley districts, contending that its absence had impeded their counter-insurgency operations against various insurgent groups.
- These insurgent factions, predominantly operating from Myanmar, have been advocating for Manipur's secession from India. The National Investigation Agency (NIA) had initiated a case to probe a transnational conspiracy by these groups to wage war against the government.
- The state witnessed a surge in ethnic violence between the majority Meitei community and the tribal Kuki people in May. This conflict resulted in the highest number of civilian casualties in Manipur since 1999, with at least 175 people losing their lives. In response to the escalating security situation, the state government is contemplating a "one district, one force" deployment strategy for security personnel.
Must Read Articles:
Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA): https://www.iasgyan.in/daily-current-affairs/armed-forces-special-powers-act-afspa-48
VIOLENCE IN MANIPUR: https://www.iasgyan.in/daily-current-affairs/violence-in-manipur
Q. What is the historical background and purpose of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) in India, and what are some of the key arguments both in support of and against its continued existence and enforcement?