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The Hindu Editorial Analysis | PDF Download

Date: 03 May 2019


  • With Masood Azhar listed as a terrorist, India must work to ensure the mandated sanctions
  • Masood Azhar’s listing as a designated terrorist by the UN Security Council at long last closes an important chapter in India’s quest to bring the Jaish-e-Mohammad chief to justice. He eluded the designation for 20 years, despite his release in 1999 in exchange for hostages after the IC-814 hijack, and his leadership of the JeM as it carried out dozens of deadly attacks in India, including the Parliament attack of 2001, and more recent ones like the Pathankot airbase attack in 2016 and the Pulwama police convoy bombing this year. China’s opposition to the listing has long been a thorn in India’s side, given the toll Azhar and the JeM have exacted, and Beijing’s veto of the listing three times between 2009 and 2017 had driven a wedge in IndiaChina relations. Despite the frustration over China’s last hold on a proposal moved by the U.S., the U.K., and France just weeks after Pulwama, the government has done well to approach Beijing with what the Ministry of External Affairs called “patience and persistence”. There is much disappointment, however, over the final listing released by the Security Council, with no mention of Mr. Azhar’s role in any of the attacks against India, or directing the insurgency in Jammu and Kashmir. A specific reference to Pulwama, which was in the original proposal, was also dropped, presumably to effect China’s change of mind on the issue. Pakistan’s claims of a victory in this are hardly credible; Masood Azhar is one of about twenty 1267- sanctioned terrorists who have Pakistani nationality, and more are based there, which is hardly a situation that gives it cause for pride. It is necessary to recognize that India’s efforts and those of its partners in the Security Council have been rewarded with a UNSC designation at its 1267 ISIL and Al-Qaeda Sanctions Committee. The focus must now move to ensuring its full implementation in Pakistan.
  • But this is easier said than done. Pakistan’s actions against others on the 1267 list have been far from effective, and in many cases obstructionist. Hafiz Saeed, the 26/11 mastermind and Lashkar-e-Toiba chief, roams free, addresses rallies, and runs a political party and several NGOs without any government restrictions. LeT’s operations commander Zaki Ur Rahman Lakhvi was granted bail some years ago despite the UNSC sanctions mandating that funds and assets to the sanctioned individuals must be frozen. It will take constant focus from New Delhi, and a push from the global community, to ensure that Masood Azhar is not just starved of funds, arms and ammunition as mandated, but that he is prosecuted in Pakistan for the acts of terror he is responsible for. Azhar and his JeM must lose all capacity to carry out attacks, particularly across the border. Global terror financing watchdog Financial Action Task Force will also be watching Pakistan’s next moves closely, ahead of a decision, that could come as early as in June, on whether to “blacklist” Pakistan or keep it on the “greylist”. Both financial and political pressure should be maintained on Islamabad to bring the hard-fought designation of Masood Azhar to its logical conclusion.

Lost lives

  • India must meet the Maoist challenge in a holistic manner
  • The death of 15 security personnel in a landmine attack in Gadchiroli on Wednesday is another grim reminder of the Indian state’s continued failure to crush naxalism. Less than a month ago, a legislator and some security personnel lost their lives in a similar attack in the neighbouring State of Chhattisgarh ahead of polling. That this attack should occur despite the deployment of 30 companies of the Central Reserve Police Force — a company comprises 135 personnel — and 13 companies of the State Reserve Police Force as well as 5,500 personnel of the local police in Gadchiroli and neighbouring Chandrapur district shows not only the audacity of the perpetrators but also the unpreparedness of the security forces. A Quick Response Team was going down the road to Dadpur in Kurkheda where extremists had set fire to three dozen vehicles of a road construction company earlier in the day when the explosion blasted the team to smithereens. The ease with which the extremists were able to torch so many vehicles is alarming, and the manner in which the response team blithely drove into an ambush is a shocking example of poor planning. The naxals set the bait and the security forces blindly took it. In the process, standard operating procedures, including letting a road-opening team lead the way, seem to have been ignored. Yet, the authorities still remain in a state of denial.
  • It is no coincidence either that the perpetrators chose the Maharashtra Foundation Day, after the polling in the district, to send this violent message. That the naxals should be able to control the narrative, remain on top of the intelligence, stay nimble and several steps ahead of the security planners should be a matter of deep concern. It is some comfort that the polling percentages in both Gadchiroli and neighbouring Chandrapur have risen, compared to the 2014 Lok Sabha election, from 70.04% to 71.98% and from 63.29% to 64.65%, respectively. But the path of the voter to the polling booth in the naxal-dominated districts is still paved with disincentives. And, the security forces deployed in the region have not been able to instil in them a greater level of confidence. On top of everything else, most of the police personnel who perished in this latest attack seem to have been local citizens. What effect could this have on the larger process of weaning away the populace from the naxalites? Reality beckons. Even in the prevailing circumstances of a hostile external environment, India cannot afford to take the challenges of internal security lightly.
  • Motives unclear but death mayhem & fear all over
  • An election year
  • Srilanka on the verge of polarisation
  • Rising global islamophobiaand used as tool politically
  • Tourist industry hit hard
  • Right wing politics at the time is dangerous with no solution
  • It has a rich cultural heritage and the first known Buddhist writings of Sri Lanka, the Pāli Canon, date back to the Fourth Buddhist council in 29 BC.
  • Its geographic location and deep harbours made it of great strategic importance from the time of the ancient Silk Road through to the modern Maritime Silk Road
  • The current constitution stipulates the political system as a republic and a unitary state governed by a semipresidential system.
  • 74.9% Sinhalese
  • 11.2% Sri Lankan Tamils
  • 9.2% Sri Lankan Moors
  • 4.2% Indian Tamils
  • 0.5% Others (incl.Burghers, Malays,Veddas, Chinese,Africans)
  • 70.2% Buddhism
  • 12.6% Hinduism
  • 9.7% Islam
  • 7.4% Christianity
  • 0.1% Other/None
  • The Anuradhapura Kingdom was established in 380 BC during the reign of Pandukabhaya of Anuradhapura. Thereafter, Anuradhapura served as the capital city of the country for nearly 1,400 years. Ancient Sri Lankans excelled at building certain types of structures (constructions) such as tanks, dagobas and palaces.
  • Society underwent a major transformation during the reign of Devanampiya Tissa of Anuradhapura, with the arrival of Buddhism from India. In 250 BC, Mahinda, the son of the Mauryan Emperor Ashoka and a bhikkhu (Buddhist monk) arrived in Mihintale carrying the message of Buddhism. His mission won over the monarch, who embraced the faith and propagated it throughout the Sinhalese population

Background of Sri Lanka and History of Civil War

  • Tamils and Sinhalese are the two major ethnic groups In Sri Lanka. Sinhalese eternal conflict with Tamils for power had been gathering strength since before independence.
  • Many Tamils attended English language schools which were the passport to higher education and better employment in the colonial period. And the Tamil-dominated Northern Province had comparatively better facilities in terms of education and employment.
  • Post independence Sinhalese nationalism sought to curb the Tamil presence in education and civil administration. In 1949 Indian Tamil plantation workers disenfranchised, the start of a wave of Sinhalese nationalism which alienates the Tamil people in the region.
  • The passing of the infamous “Sinhalese Only Bill” in 1956 was an another attempt in the same lines.
  • The constitutional provisions in the 1972 Constitution favoring the Sinhalese language and Buddhist religion, along with their educational policies convinced many Tamils that they had been perceived as a marginal community.
  • As a result of open discrimination, in 1976 Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) was formed to fight for Tamil rights and in 1983 Civil war started.
  • The 'Mitra Shakti - VI' annual exercise is designed to bolster military relations further between the armies of India and Sri Lanka,
  • SLINEX exercise is continuation of ongoing operational interaction between both navies wherein regular ships visits are being undertaken between the two countries...

India’s role in Civil war and its implications

  • The bilateral relations between India and Sri Lanka deteriorated in 1980’s with a rising of the Tamil militant separatism in Sri Lanka.
  • In 1987 with the objective of improving the ties, Indo-Sri Lankan Accord was signed between India and Sri Lanka.
  • It proposed a political solution to the Sri Lanka’s conflict by establishing a provincial council system and devolution of power for nine provinces in Sri Lanka. (This is popularly known as The Thirteenth Amendment (13A) to the Constitution of Sri Lanka)
  • India also deployed Indian Peace Keeping Force in Sri Lanka intended to perform a peacekeeping (It is known as Operation Pawan, which ultimately resulted in the assassination of PM Rajiv Gandhi).
  • After two years of constant military engagement, the IPKF was withdrawn as it failed to defeat LTTE.
  • Finally, in 2009, 25 years of violence ended when Sri Lankan government seized the last area controlled by Tamil Tiger rebels. India at that point of agreed to reconstruct the war-torn areas and started many rehabilitation programs.
  • However, the pro-LTTE governments in Tamil Nadu influenced the decisions of Central Government which posed a roadblock in humanitarian assistance in Sri Lanka.
  • Also, the relationship started deteriorating when India voted against Sri Lanka in 2009, 2012 and 2013 at the US-sponsored UNHRC resolution to investigate alleged human rights violations by the state against the Tamil rebels.
  • Sri Lanka is India's second largest trading partner in SAARC. India and Sri Lanka signed FTA in 1998, which facilitated increased trade relations between the two countries.
  • The Gender Ladder To Socio-economic Transformation More than a ‘more jobs’ approach, addressing structural issues which keep women away from the workforce is a must
  • The Gender Ladder To Socio-economic Transformation
  • More than a ‘more jobs’ approach, addressing structural issues which keep women away from the workforce is a must
  • India is in the middle of a historical election which is noteworthy in many respects, one of them being the unprecedented focus on women’s employment. The major national parties, the Bharatiya Janata Party and the Congress, have reached out to women, and their respective manifestos talk of measures to create more livelihood opportunities in rural and urban areas, which include incentives to businesses for employing more women.

What data show

  • Currently, the participation of women in the workforce in India is one of the lowest globally. The female labour force participation rate (LFPR) in India fell from 31.2% in 2011- 2012 to 23.3% in 2017-2018. This decline has been sharper in rural areas, where the female LFPR fell by more than 11 percentage points in 2017-2018. Social scientists have long tried to explain this phenomenon, more so in the context of rising levels of education for women.
  • The answers can be found in a complex set of factors including low social acceptability of women working outside the household, lack of access to safe and secure workspaces, widespread prevalence of poor and unequal wages, and a dearth of decent and suitable jobs. Most women in India are engaged in subsistence-level work in agriculture in rural areas, and in low-paying jobs such as domestic service and petty home-based manufacturing in urban areas. But with better education, women are refusing to do casual wage labour or work in family farms and enterprises.

Education and work

  • A recent study observed a strong negative relationship between a woman’s education level and her participation in agricultural and non-agricultural wage work and in family farms. Essentially, women with moderately high levels of education do not want to do manual labour outside the household which would be perceived to be below their educational qualifications. The study also showed a preference among women for salaried jobs as their educational attainment increases; but such jobs remain extremely limited for women. It is estimated that among people (25 to 59 years) working as farmers, farm labourers and service workers, nearly a third are women, while the proportion of women among professionals, managers and clerical workers is only about 15% (NSSO, 2011-2012).
  • However, it is not the case that women are simply retreating from the world of work. On the contrary, time-use surveys have found that they devote a substantial amount of their time to work which is not considered as work, but an extension of their duties, and is largely unpaid. The incidence and drudgery of this unpaid labour is growing. This includes unpaid care work such as childcare, elderly care, and household work such as collecting water. The burden of these activities falls disproportionately on women, especially in the absence of adequately available or accessible public services. It also encompasses significant chunks of women’s contribution to agriculture, animal husbandry, and non-timber forest produce on which most of the household production and consumption is based.
  • Any government which is serious about ensuring women’s economic empowerment and equal access to livelihoods must address the numerous challenges that exist along this highly gendered continuum of unpaid, underpaid and paid work. A two-pronged approach must entail facilitating women’s access to decent work by providing public services, eliminating discrimination in hiring, ensuring equal and decent wages, and improving women’s security in public spaces. It must also recognize, reduce, redistribute, and remunerate women’s unpaid work.
  • An ActionAid document, which has compiled a people’s agenda through extensive discussions across States, provides critical recommendations to policymakers on issues of concern to Dalits, tribal people, Muslims and other marginalized communities with a focus on the needs of women. On the question of work, women’s demands include genderresponsive public services such as free and accessible public toilets, household water connections, safe and secure public transport, and adequate lighting and CCTV cameras to prevent violence against women in public spaces and to increase their mobility. Furthermore, they want fair and decent living wages and appropriate social security including maternity benefit, sickness benefit, provident fund, and pension.
  • Women have also expressed the need for policies which ensure safe and dignified working and living conditions for migrant workers. For example, in cities, governments must set up migration facilitation and crisis centres (temporary shelter facility, helpline, legal aid, and medical and counselling facilities). They must also allocate social housing spaces for women workers, which include rental housing and hostels. They must ensure spaces for women shopkeepers and hawkers in all markets and vending zones.
  • Recognition as farmers
  • In addition, women have strongly articulated the need to enumerate and remunerate the unpaid and underpaid work they undertake in sectors such as agriculture and fisheries. Their fundamental demand is that women must be recognised as farmers in accordance with the National Policy for Farmers; this should include cultivators, agricultural labourers, pastoralists, livestock rearers, forest workers, fish-workers, and salt pan workers. Thereafter, their equal rights and entitlements over land and access to inputs, credit, markets, and extension services must be ensured.
  • Women also reiterate the need to recognise and redistribute their unpaid work in the household. For this, the government must collect sex-disaggregated household level data with suitable parameters. Unless policymakers correctly assess and address the structural issues which keep women from entering and staying in the workforce, promising more jobs — while a welcome step — is unlikely to lead to the socio-economic transformation India needs.
  • The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) announced that India’s second lunar mission Chandrayaan-2 is scheduled to be launched between July 9 and 16 2019.The Chandrayaan-2’s lander will touch down near Moon’s south pole on 6th September 2019.