The Assam government on Tuesday declared the entire state as a “disturbed area” under the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, or AFSPA.

The order came into effect on February 28 and will remain in force for six months unless it is withdrawn earlier.

The state government said that it arrived at the decision of implementing AFSPA after reviewing the law and order situation in the past six months.

AFSPA gives Army personnel in disturbed areas sweeping powers to search, arrest, and to open fire if they deem it necessary for “the maintenance of public order”. In the North East, the law is currently in force in Assam, Manipur Nagaland and three districts of Arunachal Pradesh.

Chief ministers of Nagaland and other northeastern states as well as several members of civil society and tribal bodies have been demanding that the law be withdrawn.

AFSPA was imposed in Assam in November 1990, according to East Mojo. It was extended in September.

On January 1, Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma had said that the state government will take a “pragmatic decision” when the Act comes up for renewal, The Times of India reported. He had expressed a hope that there may be “some rationalising in 2022”.

The demand to repeal AFSPA has grown after 14 civilians were killed by members of security forces in the state’s Mon district in December. Some of them were local coal miners who were apparently mistaken for coal miners.