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The Central Government has declared whole of the State of Nagaland to be a ‘disturbed area’ for a period of six months with effect from 30th June, 2020 under Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, 1958.

The notification issued on June 30 by the Ministry of Home Affairs states that “the area comprising the whole of State of Nagaland is in such a disturbed and dangerous condition that the use of armed forces in aid of the civil power is necessary.”

The government has made the declaration under section 3 of the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, 1958 according to which,

“If, in relation to any State or Union territory to which this Act extends, the Governor of that State or the Administrator of that Union territory or the Central Government, in either case, is of the opinion that the whole or any part of such State or Union territory, as the case may be, is in such a disturbed or dangerous condition that the use of armed forces in aid of the civil power is necessary, the Governor of that State or the Administrator of that Union territory or the Central Government, as the case may be, may, by notification in the Official Gazette, declare the whole or such part of such State or Union territory to be a disturbed.”

Section 5 of the Act confers special powers on the Armed forces which states as follows:

Special powers of the armed forces.―Any commissioned officer, warrant officer, non-commissioned officer or any other person of equivalent rank in the armed forces may, in a disturbed area,―

  • if he is of opinion that it is necessary so to do for the maintenance of public order, after giving such due warning as he may consider necessary, fire upon or otherwise use force, even to the causing of death, against any person who is acting in contravention of any law or order for the time being in force in the disturbed area prohibiting the assembly of five or more persons or the carrying of weapons or of things capable of being used as weapons or of fire-arms, ammunition or explosive substances;
  • if he is of opinion that it is necessary so to do, destroy any arms dump, prepared or fortified position or shelter from which armed attacks are made or are likely to be made or are attempted to be made, or any structure used as a training camp for armed volunteers or utilised as a hide-out by armed gangs or absconders wanted for any offence;
  •  arrest, without warrant, any person who has committed a cognizable offence or against whom a reasonable suspicion exists that he has committed or is about to commit a cognizable offence and may use such force as may be necessary to effect the arrest; and
  •  enter and search without warrant any premises to make any such arrest as aforesaid or to recover any person believed to be wrongfully restrained or confined or any property reasonably suspected to be stolen property or any arms, ammunition or explosive substances believed to be unlawfully kept in such premises, and may for that purpose use such force as may be necessary.

For the past six decade Nagaland has been governed under the draconian Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act. Thereafter on August 3, 2015, an agreement was signed between Naga insurgent group National Socialist Council of Nagaland (IsakMuivah) General Secretary Thuingaleng Muivah and government interlocutor R N Ravi in the presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. However it was later withdrawn.

Read the notification here;

-India Legal Bureau

Pic Credit: picuki.com

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