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Some positive development regarding Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act is expected during the year, Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said on Saturday without divulging any specific time frame. 

He further noted that, militancy was on the wane in the state, with all tribal militant groups already coming forward for talks though the demand for discussion on ‘sovereignty’ remained the main hurdle in resolving the issues with ULFA(I).

The Army has virtually withdrawn from Assam, except for six-seven districts, he said adding, when AFSPA comes up for renewal later this year, the state government will take a "pragmatic decision"

“As far as AFSPA is concerned, Assam will see some rationalising in 2022 ... How and when we don't know. But I am an optimistic man. We are looking at 2022 as a year of hope. There will be some positive moment regarding AFSPA," he told reporters here, as qouted by news agency PTI.

The AFSPA was imposed in Assam in November 1990 and has been extended every six months since then after a review by the state government. The demand for repeal of AFSPA from the north east came to the fore in December last year after 13 civilians were gunned down by the Army in a botched anti-insurgency operation in Nagaland and another person was killed in subsequent violence. 

“The era of tribal militancy is over. All militant groups but ULFA have come overground and deposited arms ... Our last hurdle is ULFA(I)," he said. 

 “The stumbling block is ‘sovereignty’. The ULFA(I) will want discussion over it, which we cannot hold. We are working on breaking the deadlock," Sarma added.

(With inputs from agencies)

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