The Assam government on Saturday extended the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act in the state for a period of six months, PTI reported. The extension is effective from August 28.

The law 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.

“Consequent upon review of law and order situation in Assam, in the past six months, the state government vide a notification issued to this effect by the Home and Political department, Assam and as per Section 3 of the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, 1958, has declared the entire state of Assam as ‘Disturbed Area’ w.e.f 28-08-2019 upto six months unless withdrawn earlier,” the notification read.

The central government first imposed the Act in 1990. However, the Centre ceded its power to the state in 2017, and asked the state government to decide whether the Act should continue.

In April, The Times of India had reported that the law is likely to be withdrawn in August, and the Centre had asked the Indian Army to return from the state. The state government had previously extended the Act twice, citing the work on the National Register of Citizens. The final NRC list was published on August 31.

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