What is the ARMED FORCES SPECIAL POWER ACT?
- The Armed forces refers to military forces and, special power means right above all the authority.
- AFSPA, officially known as the Armed Forces (Special Power) Act of 1958, is an individual power granted specifically to the Military.
- The Armed Forces Special Powers Act gives the military the authority to keep many undesirable situations under control.
- Indian government started the Armed Force Special Act to maintain control of those situations where local forces and authorities are vulnerable.
- Armed Forces (Assam and Manipur) Special Powers Act was to deal with uprising in naga hills and adjoining areas. It was later enacted as AFSPA, implemented in reaction to the northeastern India and other disturbed areas [Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, and Tripura] and similar act in Jammu and Kashmir.
Areas which has dispute between communities or regional groups. Any area where riots are easily started based on caste, language, or religion is considered a disturbed area.
Armed Forces may use its authority in the following circumstances.
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Insurgency is a situation where a group of people leads to a kind of situation that is unfavoured to any country’s government. The legislation was seen as a tool for granting the military forces the authority and capabilities to confront insurgencies.
It is an unwanted situation created by Terrorist organizations or individuals where activities happen like bomb blasts, kidnappings, cyber-attacks, chemical attacks, or national threats in the pursuit of political or ideological goals and achieve a political, economic, religious, or social goal through intimidation.
AFSPA comes under action in areas impacted by terrorism, notably in Jammu and Kashmir.
This is commonly known as civil or public disturbance, civil disorder, and social unrest. It means creating a disturbance in public on purpose. Violence, attacks, protests, improper language, physical behaviour’s, the production of disagreeable Odors, or harming someone is considered as a public disturbance. Armed forces take action once they find out about a group of people trying to create a disorder.
Protection of critical Infrastructure
AFSPA prevents attacks on vital infrastructure or assets that are vulnerable to sabotage or assault, such as power plants, dams, or communication networks and cyber-attack is also one of the biggest threats.
AFSPA is active at India’s foreign borders to help with border security and counter cross-border infiltration.
What are the Armed Forces Special Power rights?
- AFSPA has special rights to arrest a suspected person without a warrant on the basis of “Reasonable suspicion”.
- AFSPA team can search any disputed or suspicious properties without a warrant.
- To maintain peace, Armed forces can use lethal force against people or organisations if they consider as a threat to public order.
- To prevent insurgents, terrorists, or criminal elements from moving, AFSPA has the right to stop or slow down the movement of transport or people in defined regions.
- Armed forces have the authority to interrogate individuals for any unlawful act.
- The military forces can execute cordon and search operations where rebels or terrorists might be hiding. This includes enforcing a perimeter, conducting searches, and arresting suspects.
- They also have the right to open fire to maintain national security or to avoid panic situations like riots or terrorist attacks.
To maintain Law and order Armed forces use their power, however; Every power comes with a cost.
AFSPA rights are the perfect example of this quote. The above-mentioned AFSPA rights are controversial because of the suspicion of power misuse. The AFSPA execution and interpretation might differ, and it has been a source of contention and legal issues in India.
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