Agartala: The Tripura government on Wednesday reduced the area under which a stringent law that gives sweeping powers to paramilitary troopers could be deployed, a top official said.

The Armed Forces Special Powers Act, 1958 (AFSPA) was first enforced in 40 of the 70 police station areas in Tripura in February 1997, when terrorism was its peak in this northeastern state.

"With the improvement of the law and order situation, and with militancy being largely controlled, the AFSPA can now be enforced in 32 police station areas instead of 40,"  Tripura Chief Secretary Sanjay Kumar Panda told reporters.

According to the official, of the 32 police station areas, the AFSPA would be effective fully in 25 police station areas, and partly in seven.

The state cabinet headed by Chief Minister Manik Sarkar, after considering the reports of the director general of police, on Tuesday decided on the partial withdrawal of the controversial AFSPA.

Human rights activist Irom Chanu Sharmila of Manipur has been on an indefinite hunger strike for 13 years, demanding withdrawal of the act.


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