North-East lauds Tripura's move to withdraw AFSPA

People hope others will follow suit

North-East lauds Tripura's move to withdraw AFSPA

The Tripura government’s decision to withdraw the controversial Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) has been appreciated not only by the people of the state, but also across the North-East.

People of the North-East have now pinned hopes on other state governments to follow suit. The Centre has also lauded the Manik Sarkar-led Left Front government for its decision. On Wednesday, the Tripura Cabinet took the decision to withdraw AFSPA which was in place for 18 years.

“I would like to welcome the decision of the Tripura government to lift AFSPA. And I also hope that this decision will have a positive impact on other states of the North-East,” Minister of State for Home Affairs Kiren Rijiju told Deccan Herald here. The sources have confirmed that the Tripura government will send its decision to the Centre by the end of this week and in all likelihood the Centre will notify the withdrawal next week.

Tripura has seen a rapid decline in militancy and the only active militant group of the state, the National Liberation Front of Tripura (NLFT), has also started a peace dialogue with the state government and the Centre. “We welcome this decision. It should have been done long back. The Congress had promised this in its election manifesto,” said Pradyot Manikya Debburman, the royal scion and working president of Tripura Pradesh Congress Committee.

In Manipur, where Irom Sharmila has been on a hunger strike for 15 years seeking withdrawal of AFSPA, people are hopeful of a positive outcome.

“Tripura has shown huge political will, first to fight and tame militancy and then to ensure development and lastly remove the draconian AFSPA Act. In Manipur, the government lacks such political will. But this decision will give a new lease of life for the fight against AFSPA,” Sharmila’s brother and leading human rights activist Irom Singhajit told Deccan Herald over telephone.

Army  in J&K
General Officer Commanding (GOC) 15-Corps, Lieutenant General Subrata Saha said that the Centre and the J&K government have to take a call whether the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (AFSPA) should be revoked from the state or not.

“The final call over the revocation of AFSPA is to be taken by the Government of India and the Jammu and Kashmir government,” the GOC said.

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