Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday said efforts are on to remove AFSPA completely from the northeast region.
Addressing a ‘Peace, Unity and Development’ rally here, he said the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act could be withdrawn from various parts of the region as the law and order situation has improved in the last eight years.
”As the (law and order) situation improved with 75 per cent decrease in violence in the region, there have been changes in the imposition of laws. The AFSPA was first revoked in Tripura and then in Meghalaya,” he said.
The previous governments in Assam in the last three decades had extended it again and again as there was no improvement in the law and order situation, Modi said. ”Due to the proper control of the situation in the last eight years, the AFSPA has been removed from most parts of the state. We are trying to withdraw it from the remaining parts too.
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”The Act is applicable in some areas of Nagaland and Manipur, and we are working speedily to revoke it completely,” he said.
In a major outreach to the northeast region, the Centre had announced reduction of the disturbed areas imposed under the AFSPA in Nagaland, Assam and Manipur from April 1, after decades.
PM Modi also said the effect of the BJP’s ”double engine” government is evident in the return of permanent peace and speedy development in Assam.
The term ”double engine” is used by BJP leaders to refer to the party being in power at the Centre as well as in a state.
The government has entered into peace agreements in Assam’s Karbi Anglong and in Tripura, while efforts are on to ensure permanent peace and speedy development in the entire region, he said.
”Several outfits of Karbi Anglong returned to the mainstream to march forward in the path of peace and development. The Bodo Agreement in 2020 paved the way for peace in the region and in Tripura, the NLFT also came forward for the peace, while the two-and-a-half decade long Bru-Reang issue was resolved,” he said.
Permanent peace returned to the region, and speedy development in the northeastern states was ensured due to a collective effort of the Centre and the state governments, PM Modi said.
He stated that this process is ”on and will continue in the future.” ”Earlier, the northeast was known for bomb blasts and violence and the worst sufferers were our mothers, sisters and children. Now as I see the smile on their faces when the youths have given up their arms, I feel God is showering blessings on me,” PM Modi said. The Centre has always tried to resolve difficulties of people in Karbi Anglong and other tribal areas with the policy of ‘Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas and Sabka Vishwas’, he said. ”I have tried to understand each problem of the region as a member of your family and respect your dreams and aspirations. People have explained their problems and I have tried to resolve them sensitively as a member of your family,” Modi said at the rally. Besides, efforts have been made to solve border disputes among states in the region in a cordial manner, he said.
”I want to especially thank Chief Minister of Assam (Himanta Biswa Sarma) along with his counterparts from the northeastern states as their efforts are helping the region emerge as a strong economic power,” PM Modi said.
The recent boundary agreement between Meghalaya and Assam will encourage the others to resolve the issues and help them march forward, he said. The prime minister also laid the foundation stone for colleges of veterinary science and agriculture and a model government college in Karbi Anglong and also launched 2,985 ‘Amrit Sarovar’ projects across Assam.
The Rs 1000-crore projects for Karbi Anglong will give new opportunities to youths, particularly those who have returned to the mainstream to participate in the nation-building process, the PM said.
”These foundations are not just that of any building or institution but are the foundations for the bright future of the youths of Karbi Anglong,” he said.
Speaking on ‘Amrit Sarovars’ in the state, as a part of the Azadi ke Amrit Utsav to commemorate 75th anniversary of India’s Independence, the prime minister said he had started this in Jammu and Kashmir last week, and in Assam, ”these facilities will not only be a source of water but also of income generation”.
He also pointed out that people should focus on the concept of ‘vocal for local’ for economic development of the region.