SHILLONG -- The Meghalaya High Court has asked the Centre to consider enforcing Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, 1958 (AFSPA) in militancy-hit Garo Hills region in the state to help the administration restore the rule of law.
A full bench of the High Court comprising Chief Justice Uma Nath Singh, Justice T N K Singh and Justice S R Sen issued the order yesterday following a hearing related to the pending case of militants calling bandhs in the state.
"The central government can enforce Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, 1958 for the purpose of deployment of armed forces in the aid of civil administration in order to restore public order and maintain the law and order," the bench said in its order.
"Such deployment of armed forces of the Union would be only for the purpose of enabling the civil authorities in the state to deal with the situation effectively so that there is a regime of rule of law," it said.
Taking into consideration the the situation in the region where militant outfits have abducted 87 persons for ransom including 27 businessmen, 25 civilians, 25 employees of private firms, five government employees and five teachers, the bench said that the police and civil authorities, despite their best efforts, are not able to control the situation.
It also took into consideration the kidnapping of a Block Development Officer in South Garo Hills late last month and also the killing of an IB officer during the same time.
"We have no option but to direct the central government to consider the use of Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, 1958, in the Garo Hills area and deployment of armed and para-military forces to control the situation in the aid of but certainly not under the command of civil and police authorities till life becomes normal and the incidents of rampant kidnapping and killing totally stopped," the order stated.
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