ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Grim Portent in Assam

This article, published in the 12 April 1980 issue of the Economic and Political Weekly, reports the invoking of the Armed Forces (Assam and Manipur) Special Powers Act in the midst of the Assam agitation. As it stands today--the AFSPA is still enforced in the North East (in Assam, along the Assam-Meghalaya border) and the state is slated to go for polls on 4 April 2016.


Events in Assam are moving rapidly towards the inevitable denouement. On Saturday last the state government took the decisive step of declaring the whole of Assam, except North Cachar, a "disturbed area" and of invoking the Armed Forces (Assam and Manipur) Special Powers Act. The next day the President promulgated the Essential Services Maintenance (Assam) Ordinance empowering the government to ban strikes in services designated as 'essential'. Though it was announced on this Thursday that the Prime Ministe r woul d visit Assam on Saturday to hold discussions "with a broad spectrum of people", these discussions are unlikely to be any more fruitful than the ones she has already had wit h the leaders of the Assam agitation, Everything, therefore, points to a crack-down by the government on the people of Assam, once the hurdle posed by the order of the Assam High Court staying the operation of the "disturbed areas" notification is got out of the way.

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