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2ND OCTOBER – EDITORIALS/OPINIONS ANALYSES

Contents

  1. Undying embers
  2. The Prime Minister India almost forgot
  3. Armenia vs Azerbaijan: old regional conflict, interested neighbours

Undying embers

A Dalit girl from Hathras, UP, who had succumbed to her injuries as a result of alleged rape. While the brutal atrocity shows the grim truth about the unconscionable people, who exist in our society, it was followed by accusation by the family of the victim that they were not allowed by the UP police to participate in late night Cremation

Despite the passing of stringent laws, the string of cases related to sexual violence and perils to women safety are quite evident in Up and elsewhere.

Why atrocities are on more in some states?

  • Caste tension continues to simmer on the ground with its inevitable cycle of humiliation, violence and inequities.
  • The use of sexual violence to oppress lower castes .
  • The latest National Crime Records Bureau data show that Uttar Pradesh registered the highest number of crimes against women in 2019, accounting for 14.7% of India’s total.
  • There is hardly any fast-tracking the investigation and ensuring justice
  • Gender-sensitivity programmes and curriculum in academics is a rarity

Justice J.S Verma Committee recommendations

After the Nirbhaya rape in Delhi in 2012, the government set up a committee led by Justice J.S. Verma. On its recommendations, the Criminal Law (Amendment) Act was amended in 2013, bringing in changes to the Indian Penal Code 1860, the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973, the Indian Evidence Act, 1872 and the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012.

  • A Rape Crisis Cell to be set up. The Cell should be immediately notified when an FIR in relation to sexual assault is made. The Cell must provide legal assistance to the victim.
  • All police stations should have CCTVs at the entrance and in the questioning room.
  • A complainant should be able to file FIRs online.
  • Police officers should be duty bound to assist victims of sexual offences irrespective of the crime’s jurisdiction.
  • Members of the public who help the victims should not be treated as wrong doers.
  • The police should be trained to deal with sexual offences appropriately.
  • Number of police personnel should be increased. Community policing should be developed by providing training to volunteers.

Constitutional provisions for women:

Fundamental Rights

  • Equality before law for women (Article 14)
  • The State not to discriminate against any citizen on grounds only of religion, race, caste, sex, place of birth or any of them (Article 15 (1))
  • The State to make any special provision in favour of women and children (Article 15 (3))
  • Equality of opportunity for all citizens in matters relating to employment or appointment to any office under the State (Article 16)
  • Prohibition of Human Trafficking and bonded labour (Article 23)

Directive Principles of State Policy

  • The State to direct its policy towards securing for men and women equally the right to an adequate means of livelihood (Article 39(a))
  • Equal pay for equal work for both men and women (Article 39(d))
  • To promote justice, on a basis of equal opportunity and to provide free legal aid by suitable legislation or scheme or in any other way to ensure that opportunities for securing justice are not denied to any citizen by reason of economic or other disabilities (Article 39 A)
  • The State to make provision for securing just and humane conditions of work and for maternity relief (Article 42)
  • The State to promote with special care the educational and economic interests of the weaker sections of the people and to protect them from social injustice and all forms of exploitation (Article 46)
  • The State to raise the level of nutrition and the standard of living of its people (Article 47)

Fundamental Duties

  • To promote harmony and the spirit of common brotherhood amongst all the people of India and to renounce practices derogatory to the dignity of women (Article 51(A) (e))

Panchayats

  • Not less than one-third (including the number of seats reserved for women belonging to the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes) of the total number of seats to be filled by direct election in every Panchayat to be reserved for women and such seats to be allotted by rotation to different constituencies in a Panchayat (Article 243 D(3))
  • Not less than one- third of the total number of offices of Chairpersons in the Panchayats at each level to be reserved for women (Article 243 D (4))

Municipalities

  • Not less than one-third (including the number of seats reserved for women belonging to the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes) of the total number of seats to be filled by direct election in every Panchayat to be reserved for women and such seats to be allotted by rotation to different constituencies in a Panchayat (Article 243 D(3))
  • Not less than one- third of the total number of offices of Chairpersons in the Panchayats at each level to be reserved for women (Article 243 D (4))

Cooperative Societies

  • Two seats for women on board of every co-operative society consisting of individuals as members and having members from such class or category of persons. (Article 243 ZJ)

The Prime Minister India almost forgot

Lal Bahadur Shastri shares his birthday with Gandhi and hails from the province of Jawaharlal Nehru. He became India’s second Prime Minister (1964-66).

He served for more than 40 years in INC and participated in the freedom movement.

Contributions and Journey of Shastriji

  • As a Minister of Railways, he resigned twice, assuming moral responsibility for railway accidents in 1956 
  • Setting an early standard, Shastri was one of six who left their cabinet posts in 1963 to work in the party organisation under the Kamaraj Plan.
  • He was chosen by Nehru & unanimously elevated as Nehru’s successor, upon his death.
  • His Prime-ministership began amid a renewed bout of food scarcity and resultant price rise. It caused a forex crisis from food procurement. Given the political churn that existed, Shastri was able to construct the Food Corporation of India on the way to an eventual ‘Green Revolution’.
  • Under his tenure, he forced certain corrupt CMs of Congress and Cabinet Ministers to vacate their offices
  • He had to deal with the language violence in Tamil Nadu, youth challenges in Orissa, enduring demand for a Punjabi suba and continuing farce in Kashmir
  • In the international arena too, Shastri had to navigate between a subdued Non-Aligned Movement, the nuclear challenge of China, a change in the Soviet leadership, a new leader in Pakistan and a war with it. Prepared for a prolonged war, he resisted indiscriminate international intercession, restrained internal war fever especially its potential to deteriorate in communal outbreaks, remained firm through the retreats in one sector and the advances in another in the war’s widening arc, and rallied the country with his call of ‘Jai Jawan Jai Kisan’ to become his epitaph.
  • In the end, he accepted the Soviet offer for mediation and set about the road to Tashkent, where an agreement was signed with his Pakistani counterpart, President Muhammad Ayub Khan in January 1966, more or less restoring the status quo. (He breathed his last in Tashkent)
  • There was a discernible shift from personalised to institutionalised government; the laying of stress from industry to agriculture, and a move from command to economy

Armenia vs Azerbaijan: old regional conflict, interested neighbours

Why in news:

While the two countries have fought over the region for decades, the current conflict is being seen as one of the most serious in recent years.

Reasons for Dispute:

  • Territorial: Nagorno-Karabakh region has 95% of the population as ethnically Armenian and is controlled by them but it is internationally recognised as part of Azerbaijan.
  • Religious: Armenia is Christian majority, while Azerbaijan is Muslim majority country.
  • Domestic Politics: The leaders of both the nations have fueled the issue time and again for their vested political interests.

What is Nagorno-Karabakh?

Armenia and Karabakh Legacy IAS UPSC
  • Straddling western Asia and Eastern Europe, Nagorno-Karabakh is internationally recognised as part of Azerbaijan, but most of the region is controlled by Armenian separatists.
  • Nagorno-Karabakh has been part of Azerbaijan territory since the Soviet era.
  • When the Soviet Union began to collapse in the late 1980s, Armenia’s regional parliament voted for the region’s transfer to Armenia; the Soviet authorities turned down the demand.
  • The violence lasted into the 1990s, leaving tens and thousands dead and displacing hundreds of thousands.
  • In 1994, Russia brokered a ceasefire, by which time ethnic Armenians had taken control of the region.
  • While the Armenian government does not recognise Nagorno-Karabakh as independent, it supports the region politically and militarily.
  • Even after the 1994 peace deal, the region has been marked by regular exchanges of fire.
  • In 2016, it saw a Four-Day War before Russia mediated peace. The Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) Minsk Group, chaired by France, Russia and the US, has tried to get the two countries to reach a peace agreement for several years.

What is the fresh conflict about?

  • It began on the morning of September 27, since when each country has claimed to have inflicted serious loss on its opponent.
  • What’s different about the current flare-up is that this is the first time that both countries have proclaimed martial law.
  • According to the Warsaw-based Centre for Eastern Studies (OSW), the current escalation was “most likely” initiated by Azerbaijan.
  • Media reports have noted that the clashes were possibly a fallout of Azerbaijan’s bid to reclaim some territories occupied by separatist Armenians.

What are the stakes for Russia, and other countries?

  •  Muslim-majority Turkey backs Azerbaijan, and recently condemned Christian-majority Armenia for not resolving the issue through peaceful negotiations.
  • Russia and Turkey also back opposite sides in the civil wars playing out in Syria and Libya and Turkey’s support for Azerbaijan may be seen as an attempt to counter Russia’s influence in the region of South Caucasus.
  • Russia’s role is somewhat opaque since it supplies arms to both countries and is in a military alliance with Armenia called the Collective Security Treaty Organisation.
  • Other countries, including the US, have limited their participation to appeals for maintaining peace so far.
  • For all countries, the region is an important transit route for the supply of oil and natural gas to the European Union.

What next?

  • As of now, both sides are standing their ground. The Russian state news agency TASS quoted Azerbaijan President  as saying that for the fighting to stop, Armenia must unconditionally leave Nagorno-Karabakh.
  • The Armenian government lodged a request with the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) for an interim measure (applicable only when there is imminent risk of irreparable harm) against Azerbaijan.
  • It requested the court to indicate to the Azerbaijani government to “cease the military attacks towards the civilian settlements along the entire line of contact of the armed forces of Armenia and Artsakh”.

India- Armenia: 

In recent years, Indian-Armenian bilateral cooperation has seen rapid growth.

  • The then Vice-President of India visited Yerevan (Armenia) in 2017.
  • Armenia bought the India SWATHI military radar system in March 2020.
  • Many Indian students study in Armenian medical Universities and in recent years Armenia has witnessed an increasing flow of Indian labour migrants.
  • For Armenia, close relations with India are vitally important as India provides a counter balance to the rival strategic axis between Azerbaijan, Pakistan and Turkey.

India-Azerbaijan: 

India is part of the International North–South Transport Corridor (INSTC), a multimodal network of ship, rail, and road route for moving freight between India, Iran, Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Russia, Central Asia and Europe.

  • Azerbaijan is a dialogue partner of Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO), which India is a member of.
  • In 2018, the then Indian External affairs minister had visited Baku (Azerbaijan), the first-ever bilateral visit of an Indian External Affairs Minister to Azerbaijan.
  • India’s ONGC-Videsh is an investor in Azeri-Chirag-Gunashli (ACG) oil fields and Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline.
  • However, Azerbaijan supports Pakistan’s position on the Kashmir issue.
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