Around three weeks after six people were killed in an Army ambush on December 4 in Nagaland's Mon district and eight more were slain in unrest sparked by the incident, a committee has been formed to look into the withdrawal of the Armed Forces (Special Power) Act, 1958 (AFSPA).

The five-member committee set up by Union on Sunday will submit its report within 45 days. The panel will be led by Registrar General and Census Commissioner of India Vivek Joshi, meanwhile, Additional Secretary in the Union Home Ministry Piyush Goyal serve as its Member-Secretary. The committee will also include the Nagaland Chief Secretary and Director General of Police, as well as the DGP of the Assam Rifles.

The decision to form the panel was taken in a meeting chaired by Union Home Minister Amit Shah. The meeting held in National Capital Delhi on 23rd December involved Nagaland CM Neiphiu Rio, Assam CM Himanta Biswa Sarma and others.

“The committee will submit its report within 45 days and withdrawal of Disturbed Area and AFSPA from Nagaland will be based on the recommendations of the committee,” read a press statement signed by Nagaland CM Rio, Deputy CM Patton and Naga People’s Front Legislature Party leader TR Zeliang.

The Armed Forces Special Power Act (AFSPA) grants the military sweeping powers to make arrests without warrants and even shoot to kill in certain situations in "disturbed areas."

Since the December 4-5 incidents, Nagaland and other north-eastern states have been calling for the act to be repealed. Massive protest rallies have taken place in the state's eastern districts, as well as in the capital, Kohima, in recent weeks.

CM Rio had called for its repeal shortly after the incident on December 4, claiming that Nagaland had "always opposed AFSPA." In a tweet on December 6, Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad Sangma also requested that "AFSPA be repealed."

The Nagaland Assembly unanimously resolved to seek the abolition of AFSPA at a special one-day session on December 20. The House "appreciated and supported" citizens and civil society organisations in their demand for the repeal of AFSPA and the delivery of justice. It also implored "all sections to follow democratic norms and nonviolence in the collective effort towards the realisation of peace and delivery of justice," according to the statement.

Meanwhile, according to the statement released on Sunday, "a Court of Enquiry will initiate disciplinary proceedings against the army unit and army troops directly involved in the Oting incident, and action will be taken swiftly on the basis of a proper investigation." 

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