Union Home Minister and Minister of Cooperation Amit Shah addresses a public meeting in Tuensang, Nagaland, Tuesday, Feb 21, 2023. (Photo: PTI)
GUWAHATI: Union home minister Amit Shah on Tuesday said that he is confident that the controversial Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (AFSPA) will be removed from the entire state of Nagaland in the next three to four years.
At a rally at Tuensang, eastern Nagaland, Mr Shah said that issues concerning the development and rights of eastern Nagaland will be addressed after the elections. "We understand your problems, and in consultation with chief minister Neiphiu Rio, the Centre has decided to bring a solution to the issue soon after the elections are over," he said, asking the people to vote for the ruling alliance.
In another development, the Eastern Nagaland People’s Organization (ENPO), which represents seven tribal bodies in six districts, has withdrawn its earlier call for a boycott of elections in eastern parts of the state after a discussion with the government.
Mr Shah also said that Naga peace talks are underway. "We hope that the initiative taken by Prime Minister Narendra Modi will bring lasting peace to Nagaland soon," he added.
The home minister also claimed that there has been a 70 per cent decline in violent incidents, a 60 per cent reduction in deaths of security forces, and an 83 per cent dip in civilian deaths in the Northeast region under BJP rule.
It is significant that in April 2022, Mr Shah had announced the withdrawal of AFSPA from several districts across Assam, Nagaland and Manipur. He said the move is the "result of the improved security situation and fast-tracked development due to the consistent efforts and several agreements to end insurgency and bring lasting peace in the Northeast by the BJP government".
Mr Shah also highlighted that the Centre, in the last eight years under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, has accelerated the pace of development.
He also pointed out that during the Congress regime, only Rs. 2 lakh crores were given in five years for the entire Northeast but under the Modi-led government, Rs. 7 lakh crores were allocated for the development of the state. "In 2009-10, Congress gave Rs. 1,300 crores to Nagaland whereas the BJP-led NDA decided to grant Rs. 4,800 crores in 2022-23," he said.
The state is set to go to the polls on February 27. The counting of votes will be held on March 2.