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Current Affairs 24 September 2022

CONTENTS

  1. Maharaja Hari Singh
  2. Carbon dating
  3. What is a ‘terror’ organisation?
  4. International Argo Program

Maharaja Hari Singh


Context:

After 75 years, Jammu and Kashmir observed a holiday on the birth anniversary of Dogra monarch Maharaja Hari Singh  and was marked by cake-cutting and street celebrations in parts of the Jammu region.

Relevance:

GS I: History

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. About Maharaja Hari Singh
  2. Accession of J&K to India
  3. Delhi Agreement

About Maharaja Hari Singh

  • Born on 23 September 1895 in Jammu, Singh was the son of Raja Amar Singh Jamwal whose brother Pratap Singh was the king of the state.
  • The British showed a strong interest in Hari Singh’s academics after his father passed away in 1909. Singh attended Mayo College in Ajmer, Rajasthan, for his elementary schooling before enrolling in the British-run Imperial Cadet Corps in Dehradun for his military training.
  • When his uncle Pratap Singh died at the age of 30, Hari Singh succeeded him as the Maharaja of J&K.

Accession of J&K to India

  • Jammu and Kashmir was one among the 565 princely states of India on which the British paramountcy lapsed at the stroke of midnight on 15th August 1947 under the Partition Plan provided by the Indian Independence Act.
  • The rulers of princely states were given an option to join either India or Pakistan. The ruler of Kashmir Maharaja Hari Singh did not exercise the option immediately. He instead offered a proposal of standstill agreement to both India and Pakistan, pending the final decision on the state’s accession.
  • Pakistan entered into the standstill agreement but it invaded the Kashmir from north with an army of soldiers and tribesmen carrying modern weapons. In the early hours of 24th October, 1947, thousands of tribal Pathan swept into Kashmir.
  • The Maharaja of Jammu and Kashmir appealed to India for help. He sent his representative Sheikh Abdullah to Delhi to ask for India’s help.
  • On 26th October 1947, Maharaja Hari Singh fled from Srinagar and arrived in Jammu where he signed an ‘Instrument of Accession’ of J&K state.
  • According to the terms of the document, the Indian Jurisdiction would extend to external affairs, communications and defence. After the document was signed, Indian troops were airlifted into the state and fought alongside the Kashmiris.
  • In 1948, Maharaja Hari Singh announced the formation of an interim popular government with Sheikh Mohammed Abdullah as the Prime Minister.
  • Subsequently, the Maharaja signed a proclamation making Yuvraj Karan Singh as Regent.

Delhi Agreement

  • In 1951, the state constituent assembly was elected. It met for the first time in Srinagar on 31st October 1951.
  • In 1952, The Delhi Agreement was signed between Prime Ministers of India and Jammu & Kashmir giving special position to the state under Indian Constitutional framework.
  • On 6th February 1954, the J&K constituent assembly ratified the accession of the state to the Union of India.
  • The President subsequently issued the constitution order under Article 370 of the Constitution extending the Union Constitution to the state with some exceptions and modifications

-Source: The Hindu


Carbon Dating


Context:

A district court in Varanasi  allowed a petition seeking carbon dating of the structure inside the Gyanvapi mosque that the Hindu side has claimed is a ‘Shivling’.

Relevance:

GS II: Environment and Ecology

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. What is carbon dating?
  2. What about non-living things?
  3. Is there anything that cannot be dated?

What is carbon dating?

  • Carbon dating is a widely-used method applied to establish the age of organic material, things that were once living.
  • Living things have carbon in them in various forms. The dating method makes use of the fact that a particular isotope of carbon called C-14, with an atomic mass of 14, is radioactive, and decays at a rate that is well known.
  • The most abundant isotope of carbon in the atmosphere is carbon-12 or a carbon atom whose atomic mass is 12.
  • A very small amount of carbon-14 is also present. The ratio of carbon-12 to carbon-14 in the atmosphere is almost static, and is known.
  • Plants get their carbon through the process of photosynthesis, while animals get it mainly through food.
  • Because plants and animals get their carbon from the atmosphere, they too acquire carbon-12 and carbon-14 isotopes in roughly the same proportion as is available in the atmosphere.
  • But when they die, the interactions with the atmosphere stops.
    • There is no further intake of carbon (and no outgo either, because metabolism stops).
  • Now, carbon-12 is stable and does not decay, while carbon-14 is radioactive. Carbon-14 reduces to one-half of itself in about 5,730 years. This is what is known as its ‘half-life’.
  • So, after a plant or animal dies, the ratio of carbon-12 to carbon-14 in the body, or its remains, begins to change. This change can be measured and can be used to deduce the approximate time when the organism died.

What about non-living things?

  • Though extremely effective, carbon dating cannot be applied in all circumstances. Specifically, it cannot be used to determine the age of non-living things, like rocks, for example.
  • Also, the age of things that are more than 40,000-50,000 years cannot be arrived at through carbon dating.
    • This is because after eight to ten cycles of half-lives have been crossed, the amount of carbon-14 becomes almost negligible and undetectable.
  • There are other methods to calculate the age of inanimate things, but carbon dating can also be used in an indirect way in certain circumstances.

For example,

  • The age of the ice cores in glaciers and polar regions is determined using carbon dating by studying the carbon dioxide molecules trapped inside large ice sheets.
  • The trapped molecules have no interaction with the outside atmosphere and are found in the same state as when they were trapped.
  • How long a rock has been at a particular place can also be determined using similar indirect methods. If there are organic materials, dead plants or insects trapped beneath the rock, they can give an indication of when that rock, or any other thing, had reached that place.
Is there anything that cannot be dated?
  • Though a variety of methods exist to know the age of a certain object, not everything can be dated. The accuracy of the different methods also varies.
  • Though the petitioners in the Gyanvapi case have asked for carbon dating, it is not clear as of now whether carbon dating can be applied in this case, or if some other methods would be suitable.
  • Some methods, like looking for trapped organic material beneath it, might not be feasible for practical reasons because that would involve uprooting the structure or making some other disruptions that are not desirable.

-Source: Indian Express


What is a ‘Terror’ Organisation?


Context:

The National Investigation Agency (NIA) and the Enforcement Directorate (ED) conducted searches at the Popular Front of India’s offices (PFI) and houses of PFI state and district level leaders across multiple states over alleged involvement in terrorist activities.

  • The searches, based on allegations that members of PFI are involved in organising terror camps and encouraging youth to join terror activities, could also lead to a ban on the organisation under anti-terror laws.

Relevance:

GS II: Polity and Governance

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. What does a ‘ban’ on an organisation mean?
  2. What is a “terrorist” organisation?
  3. How is an organisation declared a terrorist organisation?
  4. What are the consequences of declaring an organisation a terrorist organisation?

What does a ‘ban’ on an organisation mean?

  • The Unlawful Activities Prevention Act gives powers to the government to declare an organisation an “unlawful association” or a “terrorist organisation”, which is often colloquially described as a “ban” on the organisations.
  • Declaring an organisation a terrorist organisation has serious consequences in law, including criminalising its membership and the forfeiture of the property of the organisation.
  • Several resolutions of the United Nations Security Council starting from 1997 require member states
    • To take action against certain terrorists and terrorist organisations,
    • To freeze their assets and other economic resources,
    • To prevent their entry into or the transit through their territory,
    • To prevent the direct or indirect supply, sale, or transfer of arms and ammunition to those individuals or entities listed in the Schedule.
What is a “terrorist” organisation?
  • Section 2(m) of the UAPA defines “terrorist organisation” as an organisation listed in the Schedule to the UAPA, or an organisation operating under the same name as an organisation so listed in the Schedule.
    • Schedule 1 currently lists 42 organisations, including Hizb-Ul-Mujahideen, Babbar Khalsa International, Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, among others as terrorist organisations.

How is an organisation declared a terrorist organisation?

  • Under Section 35 of the UAPA, the central government has powers to declare an organisation a terrorist organisation “only if it believes that it is involved in terrorism”.
  • The Schedule can be amended by the government to add or remove organisations from the list. The law states that an organisation shall be deemed to be involved in terrorism if it,
    • commits or participates in acts of terrorism, or
    • prepares for terrorism, or
    • promotes or encourages terrorism, or
    • is otherwise involved in terrorism.
What are the consequences of declaring an organisation a terrorist organisation?
  • The two crucial consequences of being declared a terrorist organisation is that
    • the funding of the organisation
    • the association of individuals with the organisation are criminalised
  • Section 38 of the UAPA requires a person who “associates himself, or professes to be associated, with a terrorist organisation with intention to further its activities, commits an offence relating to membership of a terrorist organisation” is punishable with imprisonment for a term not exceeding ten years.
    • However, such individuals are exempted from the provision if they have been members before the organisation was declared a terrorist organisation and did not take part in any activities of the organisation at any time during its inclusion in the Schedule.
  • Section 20 of the UAPA prescribes punishment for being member of terrorist gang or organisation. It states: “Any person who is a member of a terrorist gang or a terrorist organisation, which is involved in terrorist act, shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to imprisonment for life, and shall also be liable to fine.”
  • Section 21 prescribes punishment for individuals holding proceeds of terrorism with imprisonment for a term which may extend to imprisonment for life, and shall also be liable to fine.
  • The UAPA under Section 24A also provides for forfeiture of proceeds of terrorism. The law states that even if the person is not convicted for being associated with a terrorist organisation, “proceeds of terrorism” can be forfeited to the Central Government or the State Government.

What is the recourse in law available to a terrorist organisation?

  • An application can be made to the central government to remove an organisation from the Schedule by the organisation itself or any person affected by inclusion of the organisation in the Schedule as a terrorist organisation.
  • A review committee is then appointed which is headed by a sitting or former judge of a High Court to “judicially review” the application.
  • The organisation will be removed if the review committee “considers that the decision to reject was flawed when considered in the light of the principles applicable on an application for judicial review”.

-Source: Indian Express


International Argo Program


Context:

The International Argo Program system to observe carbon concentration in the world’s oceans is extremely inadequate to meet the growing and urgent need for information on oceanic carbon, says a report.

Relevance:

GS III: Environment and Ecology

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. What is Argo?
  2. What are its aims?
  3. How does it work?

What is Argo?

  • Argo is an international program that measures water properties across the world’s ocean using a fleet of robotic instruments that drift with the ocean currents and move up and down between the surface and a mid-water level. 
  • Each instrument (float) spends almost all its life below the surface. 
  • The name Argo was chosen because the array of floats works in partnership with the Jason earth observing satellites that measure the shape of the ocean surface. 

What are its aims?

  • The data that Argo collects describes the temperature and salinity of the water and some of the floats measure other properties that describe the biology/chemistry of the ocean. 
  • The main reason for collecting these data is to help us understand the oceans’ role in earth’s climate and so be able to make improved estimates of how it will change in the future.
  • For example, the changes in sea level (once the tides are averaged out) depend partly on the melting of icecaps and partly on the amount of heat stored in the oceans. 
  • Argo’s temperature measurements allow us to calculate how much heat is stored and to monitor from year to year how the distribution of heat changes with depth and from area to area.
  • As ocean heat content increases, sea level rises, just like the mercury in a thermometer.

How does it work?

  • Each Argo float (costing between $20,000 and $150,000 depending on the individual float’s technical specification) is launched from a ship.
  • The float’s weight is carefully adjusted so that, as it sinks, it eventually stabilizes at a pre-set level, usually 1 km.
  • Ten days later, an internal battery-driven pump transfers oil between a reservoir inside the float and an external bladder.
  • This makes the float first descend to 2km and then return to the surface measuring ocean properties as it rises.
  • The data and the float position are relayed to satellites and then on to receiving stations on shore.
  • The float then sinks again to repeat the 10 day cycle until its batteries are exhausted.

-Source: Down to Earth


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