The Centre on Thursday granted paramilitary force Assam Rifles the power to arrest anyone and search a place without warrant in border districts in five northeastern states, PTI reported. The Assam Rifles conducts counter-insurgency operations in the North East and guards the India-Myanmar border.

The powers granted are akin to the provisions of the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, which is effective in several parts of the North East. The new powers are effective in the border areas of Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, Nagaland and Mizoram.

The notification from the Ministry of Home Affairs states that an “officer of the rank corresponding to that of the lowest rank of members of the Assam Rifles” will have these powers.

The Assam Rifles earlier was making arrests only in areas where the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act was in effect. “They were finding it difficult to make seizures and arrest in Mizoram, which doesn’t have AFSPA,” The Hindu quoted an unidentified government official as saying. “This is to basically correct that anomaly. As per law, they have to hand over the suspects to the local police within 24 hours.”