New Delhi: The Central Government on Thursday decided to reduce the disturbed areas under Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) in Nagaland, Assam and Manipur after decades.

According to the Ministry of Home Affairs, the improvement in the security situation in the northeast has resulted in a significant step by the government to reduce the disturbed areas under AFSPA in Nagaland, Assam and Manipur.

In Assam, where Disturbed Area Notification has been in force since 1990, the AFSPA is being removed with effect from April 1, 2022, completely from 23 districts and partially from one district.

The Disturbed Area Declaration which is in force in the entire Manipur (except the Imphal Municipality area) since 2004. Fifteen police station areas of the six districts of Manipur will be excluded from the purview of the Act from April 1.

In Nagaland, the Centre has accepted the recommendation of a high-level committee formed in the aftermath of the Mon killing to withdraw AFSPA in a phased manner, a Home Ministry release said. The Disturbed Area Notification is being withdrawn from 15 police stations in seven districts in Nagaland with effect from April 1.

"In comparison to 2014, there has been a reduction of 74 per cent in militancy incidents in 2021. Similarly, deaths of security personnel and civilians have also come down by 60 per cent and 84 per cent respectively during this period," the release said.

It said that to realize Prime Minister Narendra Modi's vision of a peaceful and prosperous northeast region, Union Home Minister Amit Shah has held dialogues with all the states of the region on a regular basis.

"As a result, most of the extremist groups have laid down their arms expressing their faith in the Constitution of India and the policies of the Modi government. Today all these persons have become a part of the democratic process and are participating in the development of the North East. About 7,000 militants have surrendered in the last few years," the release said.

The Central Government in the last three years has signed several agreements to end insurgencies and bring lasting peace to the north-eastern states.

"For example, the Bodo Accord of January 2020, which resolved the five decades-long Bodo problems of Assam and the Karbi-Anglong Agreement of September 4, 2021, which resolved the long-standing dispute over the Karbi region of Assam. Similarly, the NLFT (SD) agreement was signed in August 2019 to bring militants into the mainstream of society in Tripura," the release said.

A historic agreement was signed on January 16, 2020, to resolve the 23-year-old Bru-Reang refugee crisis under which 37,000 internally displaced persons are being resettled in Tripura. On March 29, 2022, another important agreement was signed regarding the boundaries of Assam and Meghalaya.

"Prime Minister Narendra Modi is committed to make the whole of the North East region free from extremism. In this regard, the Central Government has been interacting with state governments and other stakeholders from time to time," the release said.

It said that due to the improvement in the security situation, the Disturbed Area Notification under AFSPA was completely removed from Tripura in 2015 and Meghalaya in 2018.

In 2015, AFSPA was in force in three districts of Arunachal Pradesh, a 20 km belt of Arunachal Pradesh along the Assam border and in 16 police station areas in nine other districts of the State.

"This has been gradually reduced and the Disturbed Areas Notification, is currently applicable in only three districts and in two police station areas in one other district of Arunachal Pradesh," the statement added.

Union Home Minister Amit Shah said that due to PM Modi's unwavering commitment and attention to the North East Region, which had been neglected for decades, the region is now witnessing a new era of peace, prosperity and unprecedented development.

He also greeted the people of the North East on the occasion.