The Tripura government has revoked the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (AFSPA) as insurgency is on the wane in the State. Chief Minister Manik Sarkar announced the decision after a meeting with his Council of Ministers here on Wednesday.
The repeal of the Act, which has been in force in the State since February 1997, came less than a month after the election to the Tripura Tribal Areas Autonomous District Council. The CPI(M)-led Left Front won the election, though it lost a nine per cent vote share to a tribal party.
Tribal parties such as the Indigenous Nationalist Party of Tripura and the Indigenous Peoples Front of Tripura had been demanding the withdrawal of the Act, saying it was aimed at suppressing the State’s 33 per cent tribal population.
The Chief Minister told presspersons that the Left front government had earlier tried to repeal the AFSPA, but did not get the consent of the security establishment. “The situation has changed to a great extent now,” Mr. Sarkar said.
He said the State government had reviewed security matters and the Council of Ministers approved the decision to withdraw the AFSPA. The meeting decided to allow movement of traffic on the Assam-Agartala National Highway till midnight.
Last November, the Act, which confers sweeping powers on the armed forces, was extended for six months in the State.
The AFSPA had been in force in the State’s 26 police station areas. In four police station limits, the Act was partially enforced.