The Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) was removed from Nagaland, Assam and Manipur earlier this year, and the Centre has expressed willingness to remove it from other areas as well gradually. As a result, the Centre has asked police forces to assess their readiness to deal with security challenges and lead counterinsurgency operations going forward.
During a special conference of DGPs of these states and regional heads of 12 central agencies, it was spelled out that special units of the Bureau of Police Research and Development (BPR&D) and the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) would train police personnel in operations, investigations, and prosecution.
This two-day Agartala, Tripura conference was organized by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) and Intelligence Bureau to foster greater cooperation among state police forces.
There were also discussions about developments in Myanmar, counter-smuggling measures, and ways to stop illicit drug trade at the conference, which took place on the heels of a deadly clash between Assam Police and people from Meghalaya on Tuesday.
Sources said that Assam and Meghalaya DGPs discussed ways to defuse the situation. The Meghalaya Cabinet will meet Amit Shah in Delhi on Thursday to demand a probe by the CBI or NIA into the incident.
State police sources said that following discussions, some specific recommendations were made, including prioritizing preparations for a no-AFSPA regime in the Northeast. According to the report, states should encourage their police departments to share information with central agencies about drug trafficking cases and prominent drug traffickers.
There was also a recommendation to increase the presence of state administration and border guarding personnel along the international border, given the recent developments in Myanmar. According to the recommendations, state, district, and senior officers should monitor the entire intelligence-sharing mechanism.
In addition, states have been requested to upgrade their forensic science labs in order to improve investigation and prosecution, and the Centre has agreed to provide necessary assistance.
With the mission objective of resolving all prevailing challenges within a defined time frame, participants discussed issues ranging from insurgency, building the capacity of police units to meet security challenges, disrupting drug trafficking networks, the impact of developments in Myanmar, and the security requirements of the Government of India’s Act East Policy, according to the MHA.
Manik Saha, Tripura Chief Minister, inaugurated the conference by stressing the importance of better coordination among Northeast states.
Nagaland’s AFSPA was removed in March from 15 police station areas; Manipur’s AFSPA was withdrawn from 15 police station areas, and Assam withdrew it from 23 districts and partially from one district.