Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Tuesday said he was certain that the Armed Forces Special Powers Act, or AFSPA, would be revoked soon from Assam, PTI reported.

“The Armed Forces Special Powers Act has been revoked from 23 districts, and partially from one district,” Shah said in Guwahati. “I am confident that it will be completely withdrawn from the entire state soon.”

AFSPA gives Army personnel in “disturbed areas” sweeping powers to search, arrest, and open fire if they deem it necessary for “the maintenance of public order” It was repealed from some areas of Nagaland, Assam and Manipur from April 1.

On April 28, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had said the Centre was making efforts to completely remove the Act from the North East.

On Tuesday, the home minister said that the Act came into force in 1990 and has been extended seven times since, The Indian Express reported.

Shah was in the city to present the President’s Colour award to the Assam Police. The award is the highest honour that can be bestowed upon any military unit of India.

The home minister said that the Assam Police “rightfully deserves” the President’s Colour honour for handling insurgency in the state.

“The Assam Police has a glorious history and has successfully tackled insurgency, border issues, smuggling of arms, drugs and cattle, rhino poaching and social issues like witchcraft to emerge as one of the foremost police forces of the country,” said Shah, who is on a two-day visit to Assam.

He also credited the Centre and Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma for making efforts to work out peace agreements with many militant outfits, PTI reported.

“The day is not far when the entire state will be completely free from insurgency and violence,” he added.

The demand for removing the law gained prominence after 14 civilians were killed by the security forces in Nagaland’s Mon district on December 4. A first information report filed by the Nagaland Police had said that the Army’s 21 Para Special Force “blankly opened fire” with the “intention to murder and injure civilians”.

Besides several Naga bodies, the state unit of the Bharatiya Janata Party too had condemned the firing and said it was time to exercise caution and patience to maintain peace in the region. Shah had said that a high-level Special Investigation Team would be constituted by the state government to look into the incident.

The Mon killings had led to protests in Nagaland with demonstrators demanding that the law be repealed. Chief ministers of northeastern states too had demadned that the law be withdrawn.

Meanwhile on Monday, Army Chief General Manoj Pande said that the “investigation into the Mon incident has been completed”, PTI reported.

“The report has been submitted and presently the legal scrutiny of the report is taking place,” he added. “If we find some personnel who have not followed the standard operating procedures and guidelines, action as per the due process of military law will be taken.”

Also read: Lasting peace? Decoding the BJP’s move to curtail AFSPA in the North East