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The Hindu Editorial Analysis | PDF Download

Date: 02 May 2019
  • Assange, sent to Belmarsh Prison
  • 1st media hero of 21st century
  • Collaborated with some best mainstream media in the world
  • Exposed issues of Iraq wars, corrupt Kenyan president, Turkey, Syria & Hillary Clinton’s emails
  • Didn’t commit any crime by exposing wrong doers and protecting his source of info. Its chilling for the investigative journalism all over the world
  • Case against The Hindu in India
  • US wants him badly in solitary confinement for years
  • Complex legal battle & some support by british political party
  • There must be a international campaign to free him.

The smokescreen of an infiltrator-free India

  • The real aim of the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill is to segregate non-citizens on the basis of religion
  • The BJP’s poll promise to implement the National Register of Citizens (NRC) in a phased manner in other parts of the country is only a smokescreen to hide its real agenda of using the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill to segregate noncitizens on the basis of religion and subjecting only the Muslims among them to anti-immigration laws of the country.
  • At present, Assam is the only State in the country to have an NRC, which was compiled way back in 1951. The process of updating the 1951 NRC in Assam has been on since 2015 under constant monitoring by the Supreme Court. The complete draft of the updated NRC in Assam published on July 30, 2018 excluded the names of over 40 lakh of the total 3.29 crore applicants. The Supreme Court has fixed July 31 for publication of the final NRC list after disposal of all claims and objections.
  • No definition of infiltrators
  • The Citizenship (Amendment) Bill incorporates the BJP’s articulated ideological position vis-à-vis undocumented immigrants in respect of three countries — Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan. The ideological position of the ruling party is that undocumented immigrants belonging to Hindu and other religious minority groups in these three countries cannot be treated as “illegal migrants” in India and need to be granted citizenship, while the Muslims among them are “infiltrators” must be identified and driven out.
  • The BJP introduced the Bill in Parliament in 2016 when the NRC was being updated in Assam. The objective of the Bill is very clear: to remove the “illegal migrant” tag on members of six religious groups — Hindus, Jains, Christians, Sikhs, Buddhists, and Parsis — from these three countries and reduce the requirement of residency in India to six years to make them eligible to apply for Indian citizenship.
  • However, in its manifesto for the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, the party has dropped Parsis from the list. “Hindus, Jains, Buddhists, Sikhs and Christians escaping persecution from India’s neighbouring countries will be given citizenship in India,” the manifesto promises.
  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP president Amit Shah have been harping on updating the NRC in their election rallies “to identify the infiltrators”, and on the Bill. This is an attempt to manufacture consent of the people on the definition of “infiltrator” according to the ideological lexicon of the saffron party. The problem of cut-off date
  • However, the NRC smokescreen has thickened as the BJP has not spelt out in its manifesto the cut-off date for the proposed NRC for the entire country. If the cut-off date is going to be different from that taken for updating the NRC in Assam, what will be the legal status of those included in the updated register in Assam in the rest of the country, and vice versa?
  • The cut-off date for updating the NRC in Assam is March 24, 1971, which is also the cut-off date in the Assam Accord for implementation of the core clause, Clause 5, which calls for identification, deletion of names and expulsion of “illegal migrants” from Bangladesh, irrespective of their religion. The Accord facilitated acceptance of undocumented migrants from erstwhile East Pakistan who came until this cut-off date as Indian citizens, except in respect of the stream of people who came in 1966-71 and who are to remain disenfranchised for a period of 10 years from the date of their registration as foreigners.
  • Updating the NRC in Assam on the basis of this core clause led to a broad political consensus in the State that the updated register will be a critical document for implementing this clause and addressing the apprehension of the Assamese and other ethnic communities in the State of losing their linguistic, cultural and ethnic identities due to unabated migration from Bangladesh.
  • The BJP has been pushing the campaign in Assam that 1951 should have been the cut-off date in the Assam Accord for identification of “infiltrators” from erstwhile East Pakistan and present-day Bangladesh. Though it has not taken any official position on reviewing the Assam Accord for fear of antagonising the Assamese, it has been pushing the campaign in a desperate bid to make them accept religion as the basis in place of language, culture and ethnicity for construction of an Assamese identity.
  • The Assam government recently informed the Supreme Court that it has submitted a ₹900 crore proposal to the Ministry of Home Affairs for sanctioning 1,000 Foreigners Tribunals to decide the cases of those to be excluded from the final NRC list. The State has a hundred Foreigners Tribunals at present.
  • A legal shield
  • The BJP, however, needs the Bill to be first enacted as a legal shield for the large number of Bengali Hindus in Assam, in other northeastern States, and in West Bengal, who migrated from erstwhile East Bengal and after the creation of Bangladesh.
  • The BJP pushed the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2019, notwithstanding widespread protests in the northeastern States and got it passed in the Lok Sabha. But it did not push it in the Rajya Sabha for lack of numbers.
  • To prevent its poll arithmetic going haywire in the Northeast on account of apprehensions that the Bill would make the NRC infructuous and trigger an influx of more “illegal migrants” from Bangladesh, the BJP in its manifesto promises “to protect the linguistic, cultural and social identity of the people of Northeast.”
  • Mr. Modi and Mr. Shah’s promises on the Bill cannot be discounted as mere poll rhetoric as the Ministry of Home Affairs on October 18, 2018 notified the Citizenship (Amendment) Rules, 2018 making it mandatory for a person applying for Indian citizenship to declare her or his religion.
  • However, the smokescreen of an infiltrator-free India without explicitly defining an infiltrator will not be able hide the real threat posed to the country’s secular fabric. If the Bill is made into an Act, it poses the threat of abusing the NRC to divide people on religious lines. The country can ill afford such a divisive agenda.

Fighting polio in Pakistan

  • Instead of insisting on the oral polio vaccine, using the inactivated polio vaccine along with other vaccines will help
  • Last month, the polio eradication programme in Pakistan was in the news for all the wrong reasons. On April 22, a government hospital in Mashokhel in Peshawar district was set on fire after many children allegedly fell sick after being given the anti-polio vaccine. On April 23 and 24, in two separate incidents, two police officers guarding vaccinators were shot dead. On April 25, in Chaman, which borders Afghanistan, a polio worker was shot dead and her helper injured. Since December 2012, nearly 90 people have been killed in the country for working to eradicate polio. Due to recurrent threats to workers, the Pakistan government has now suspended the anti-polio drive.
  • Cases of wild poliovirus type 1
  • This is the worst time to take this decision. This year alone, eight paralysed children with wild poliovirus type 1 (WPV1) have been found in Pakistan. Environmental surveillance by testing sewage samples has shown 91 WPV1-positive samples, in the provinces of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Balochistan, Punjab and Sindh. In the past week alone, 13 sewage samples were found to be positive for WPV1.
  • This is a worrying sign. With suspended immunisation activities, WPV1 will spread fast and the number of polio cases could increase and cause an outbreak. If Pakistan cannot eliminate polio, the global eradication programme is sure to stall.
  • When India eliminated WPV1 in January 2011, the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI), a public-private partnership led by national governments with five partners, did not ask if Pakistan would be able to follow suit; it simply assumed it would. This was unrealistic. In Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, oral polio vaccine (OPV) coverage of 98-99% was sustained with an average of 15 doses per child from 2003. There was full cooperation from the health workers and the public. The war on polio requires such intensity and coverage and it is unrealistic to expect this in Pakistan, where polio eradication is falsely depicted as a Western agenda with the sinister motive of reducing fertility.
  • The GPEI has pinned all its hopes on the OPV and has excluded the alternate inactivated polio vaccine (IPV) to eradicate WPVs. The OPV is cheap and easy to give to children, but it has to be given to them again and again in pulse campaigns since its efficacy is poor. On the other hand, the IPV is highly efficacious and needs to be given just two-three times as part of routine immunisation.
  • Risk of polio outbreaks
  • The OPV has another problem. If coverage declines (as is bound to happen in Pakistan), vaccine viruses will spread to children who are not vaccinated, back-mutate, de-attenuate and become virulent. Such viruses are called circulating vaccine-derived polioviruses (cVDPV). They can cause polio outbreaks. Thus Pakistan will soon be at risk of polio outbreaks by both WPV1 and cVDPV.
  • It is to avoid the emergence of cVDPV that India strives to maintain high OPV coverage through routine immunisation, Mission Indradhanush and annual national pulse campaigns. In 2018, Papua New Guinea developed a cVDPV polio outbreak as OPV coverage fell to 60%. In 2017, as OPV coverage fell to 53%, Syria had an outbreak of cVDPV polio.
  • There is yet another problem in Pakistan. With the OPV being identified as the weapon in the war on polio and with some in Pakistan believing that the aim of eradication is to reduce fertility, a vaccine is given only three or four times, not 15-20 times.
  • Hope is not lost for polio eradication provided that the GPEI relents on its insistence on the OPV and uses the IPV along with other common vaccines. IPV-containing vaccines could be included in the routine immunisation programme and given without attracting the attention of militants. The false propaganda about polio vaccination in Pakistan will then lose its sting. While near-100% coverage with the OPV is necessary, 85-90% coverage with the IPV given in a routine schedule would be sufficient.
  • If the GPEI insists on the OPV as the only weapon against polio, we have hit the end of the road in Pakistan. But the world cannot afford to lose this war on polio. India could show the way forward by giving the IPV in its universal immunisation programme (at least two doses and preferably three) and then discontinuing the infectious OPV altogether.
  • is India's second lunar exploration mission after Chandrayaan-1.
  • Developed by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), the mission is planned to be launched to the Moon by a Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle Mark III (GSLV Mk III).
  • It includes a lunar orbiter, lander and rover, all developed by India
  • Chandrayaan-2 will attempt to soft land a lander and rover in a high plain between two craters, Manzinus C and Simpelius N, at a latitude of about 70° south. If successful, Chandrayaan-2 will be the second mission to land a rover near the lunar south pole
  • The mission's lander is called Vikram, named after Vikram Sarabhai (1919-1971) who is widely regarded as the father of the Indian space programme
  • Unlike Chandrayaan-1's Moon Impact Probe, the Vikram lander will make a soft landing, deploy the rover, and perform some scientific activities for approximately 15 days.
  • The mission's rover is called Pragyan