The Ministry of Home Affairs has extended the operation Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act in Nagaland for another six months with effect from June 30. The Centre on Sunday declared the state a “disturbed area” to extend the Act.

The Armed Forces (Special Powers) 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”, and to do so with a degree of immunity from prosecution.

“Whereas the central government is of the opinion that the area comprising the whole of state of Nagaland is in such a disturbed and dangerous condition that the use of armed forces in aid of the civil power is necessary,” the Centre said in a notification.

An unidentified home ministry official said the decision to extend the law was taken in view of rising crime and extortion cases, according to The Indian Express. The ministry had last extended AFSPA in Nagaland in December for similar reasons.

The law has been in force in Nagaland for several decades now and was not withdrawn even after a framework agreement was signed on August 3, 2015, by Naga insurgent group National Socialist Council of Nagaland (Isak Muivah) General Secretary Thuingaleng Muivah and government interlocutor RN Ravi in the presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. It also remains in force in Assam, most of Manipur, and three districts and areas falling under the jurisdiction of four police stations in Arunachal Pradesh.