Union Minister of State for Home Kiren Rijiju on Sunday said that the contentious Armed Forces Special Powers Act may be withdrawn in phases from Nagaland, Arunachal Pradesh and other areas that it has been imposed in, PTI reported. The minister said the state may also reconsider the imposition of the Act in Jammu and Kashmir.

The Act gives the military sweeping powers to search and arrest, and to open fire if they deem it necessary for “the maintenance of public order”. The law grants the military a degree of immunity from prosecution. A legacy of the colonial administration, the law was meant to address emergencies in conflict zones.

Rijiju’s statement follows the withdrawal of the Act from Meghalaya and parts of Arunachal Pradesh on April 23. In 2015, the Act was withdrawn from Tripura following the waning of insurgency in the state.

“Since the security scenario in the North East has improved in the last four years, the Act has been removed from many areas, Rijiju said. “We are hopeful that with further improvement, it may be lifted from the remaining few areas in the near future.”

On the Naga peace accord, the minister said that the Centre’s negotiations with the National Socialist Council of Nagaland (Isak Muivah) would be positive but did not specify when the final agreement would be signed. The final draft of the agreement includes provisions for autonomous Naga territorial councils for Arunachal Pradesh and Manipur, and allows a common cultural body for the Naga people as well as for specific institutions for the development of Nagaland, and the removal of the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act from the state.