Union minister Sarbananda Sonowal on Sunday welcomed the lifting of AFSPA from more parts of the Northeast, maintaining it will ensure further growth of the region.
He also maintained that militants are leaving the path of violence and joining nation-building efforts in the northeastern states.
"Further relaxation of Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, 1958 or AFSPA from many areas of Assam, Nagaland and Manipur is another welcome step by the Modi govt," Sonowal said in a statement here.
He said sustained and conscious efforts by Prime Minister Narendra Modi have resulted in permanent peace in the region.
"On behalf of all the people of the region, I extend my heartfelt gratitude to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah," the former Assam chief minister said.
Sonowal maintained that "dark days of violence, disturbance and insurgency during the Congress government" are now things of past.
"The insurgents have chosen to reject the road of violence as they join the movement of nation-building under the visionary leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. I am sure this decision will further accelerate the development in the region in a peaceful environment," he added.
Shah had on Saturday announced that as a result of significant improvement in the security situation, the Act will be in force in eight districts of Assam instead of nine from April 1.
In Manipur, AFSPA has been withdrawn from four more police stations, which meant 19 police stations in seven districts of the state have been removed from the disturbed area notification so far, officials said.
The Act was in force in the entire state, except for Imphal municipality area, since 2004. But from April last year, it was withdrawn from 15 police station areas in six districts.
In Nagaland, the disturbed areas notification was applicable in the entire state since 1995. On April 1, 2022, however, it was withdrawn from 15 police stations in seven districts. It will be further withdrawn from three other police stations in another district from April 1.
The AFSPA gives armed forces personnel, operating in disturbed areas, sweeping powers to search, arrest, and open fire if they deem it necessary for "the maintenance of public order", prompting civil society groups and human rights activists to term the law "draconian".
-With PTI Input