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23th August Current Affairs

Jan Shikshan Sansthan (JSS)

(GS-II: Welfare schemes for vulnerable sections of the population by the Centre and States and the performance of these schemes; mechanisms, laws, institutions and bodies constituted for the protection and betterment of these vulnerable sections)

In News:

The Jan Shikshan Sansthan (JSS) has brought high-speed internet to some of the remotest tribal hamlets deep inside the Nilambur jungle in Kerala.

Few tribal hamlets have got high-speed internet, thanks to long-distance Wi-Fi technology.

About JSS:

It is an initiative for skill development in rural areas.

The Scheme of Jan Shikshan Sansthan (JSS) was formerly known as Shramik Vidyapeeth.

It has been implemented through a network of NGOs in the country since March 1967.

Objectives:

  • To improve the occupational skills and technical knowledge of the non/neo literates and persons having rudimentary level of education upto 8th standard and other school dropouts beyond 8th standard.
  • To create a pool of master trainers working across the department/agencies of skill development through training/orientation programmes.
  • To widen the range of knowledge and understanding of social, economic and political systems and create awareness about the environment.
  • To Promote national values and to align with national programmes.
  • To promote self-employment and facilitate financial support including loans for the target groups through linkage with credit and consortium membership.

What is long-distance Wi-Fi? How does it work in Kerala?

It works on 5GHz frequency.

With the help of five towers, 100-mbps internet is made available.

Servers have been setup in such a way to help a minimum of 250 users use the Net concurrently.

Using long-distance Wi-Fi technology, high-speed internet could be provided even up to 100 km without any transmission loss.

Moplah martyrs and the rebellion

(GS-I: Modern Indian history from about the middle of the eighteenth century until the present- significant events, personalities, issues)

In News:

Malabar Rebellion leaders Variamkunnath Kunhamed Haji, Ali Musaliar and 387 other ‘Moplah martyrs’ will be removed from the Dictionary of Martyrs of India’s Freedom Struggle as per the recommendations made by a three-member panel.

What’s the issue?

In the ‘Dictionary of Martyrs’, published by the Union Ministry of Culture in collaboration with the Indian Council of Historical Research, Variankunnath Kunhamad Haji and Ali Musliyar, the chief architects of the Moplah Massacre, were deemed to be martyrs. The book was published in 2019.

However, a report by the ICHR-constituted committee has sought the removal of names of 387 ‘Moplah rioters’ (Including leaders Ali Musliyar and Variamkunnath Ahmad Haji) from the list of martyrs.

Why?

The report describes Haji as the “notorious Moplah Riot leader” and a “hardcore criminal,” who “killed innumerable innocent Hindu men, women, and children during the 1921 Moplah Riot, and deposited their bodies in a well, locally known as Thoovoor Kinar”.

It also noted that almost all the Moplah outrages were communal. They were against Hindu society and done out of sheer intolerance. None of the slogans raised by the rioters were in favour of nationalism and anti-British.

Also, many ‘Moplah martyrs’ facing trial died from disease or natural causes, and could not be treated as martyrs.

Thus, their names should be deleted.

Who was Haji?

Born in the 1870s, he was a brave freedom fighter who stood up to the British in Kerala’s Malabar region in the early 20th century and even established a short-lived regime of his own.

He used art as an instrument to rally the locals against the British.

He promised support to the Indian National Congress and Khilafat movement against the atrocities of the British and the landlords.

For nearly six months, Haji ran a parallel Khilafat regime headquartered in Nilambur, with even its own separate passport, currency and system of taxation.

How his rule came to an end?

The rule did not last long. In January 1922, under the guise of a treaty, the British betrayed Haji through his close friend Unyan Musaliyar, arresting him from his hideout and producing him before a British judge. He was sentenced to death along with his compatriots.

Arunachal Pradesh Draft Inheritance Bill

(GS-I: Women related issues)

In News:

Experts have asked the Arunachal Pradesh State Commission for Women (APSCW) to scrap certain provisions from the proposed Arunachal Pradesh marriage and inheritance bill, keeping in view the public sentiment and the state’s interest.

Overview of the draft Bill:

Essential conditions of marriage, registration of marriage: The bill is made applicable to any person who belongs to any indigenous scheduled tribe of Arunachal Pradesh. It provides that a marriage between parties may be solemnized according to local customary rites and rituals of the either party.

Restitution of conjugal rights, void and voidable marriage: The bill also provides for restitution of conjugal rights stating when either of the party has, without reasonable excuse, withdrawn from the society of the other, the aggrieved party may apply by petition to the district court for restitution of conjugal rights.

Grounds for dissolution of marriage (divorce): Marriage solemnized after the commencement of the act can be dissolved on various grounds.

Permanent alimony and maintenance: A wife who is unable to maintain herself can file application to the court for maintenance. The court may order that the husband shall pay to her an appropriate lump sum of permanent alimony.

Bill’s status on polygamy: Every person who, being at the time married, procures a marriage of himself or herself to be solemnized under this act shall be deemed to have committed an offence under Section 494 or Section 495 of the Indian Penal Code (45 of 1860), as the case may be, and the marriage so solemnized shall be void.

Significance of the Bill:

The main thrust of the bill is on legal status of marriage, procedure of marriage registration, property right of wife, widow’s rights, treating polygamy as an offence.

Two significant contribution of the bill is with respect to criminalization of polygamy and property right of the legally wedded wife and widow.

Controversial provisions:

An Arunachal Pradesh Scheduled Tribe (APST) woman married to non-APST man shall enjoy any immovable property inherited from the head of the family in her lifetime.

In the event of her death, her husband and her heirs would have full rights of it for disposal and alienation to any indigenous tribe of Arunachal Pradesh.

Because of these Provisions, the draft Bill is termed as “anti-tribal”, “anti-Arunachal”, violative of customary laws and an invitation to outsiders to take over tribal land through marriage.

Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA)

(GS-III: Role of external state and non-state actors in creating challenges to internal security)

In News:

A ban under the stringent Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act may be imposed on both factions of the secessionist conglomerate Hurriyat Conference which has been spearheading the separatist movement in Jammu & Kashmir for over two decades.

The proposal was mooted in accordance with the Union government’s policy of zero tolerance against terrorism.

Who can impose restrictions?

The factions of the Hurriyat are likely to be banned under Section 3(1) of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA), under which “if the Central government is of opinion that any association is, or has become, an unlawful association, it may, by notification in the Official Gazette, declare such association to be unlawful.”

About the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act:

Passed in 1967, the law aims at effective prevention of unlawful activities associations in India.

The Act assigns absolute power to the central government, by way of which if the Centre deems an activity as unlawful then it may, by way of an Official Gazette, declare it so.

It has death penalty and life imprisonment as highest punishments.

Key points:

Under UAPA, both Indian and foreign nationals can be charged.

It will be applicable to the offenders in the same manner, even if crime is committed on a foreign land, outside India.

Under the UAPA, the investigating agency can file a charge sheet in maximum 180 days after the arrests and the duration can be extended further after intimating the court.

As per amendments of 2019:

The Act empowers the Director General of National Investigation Agency (NIA) to grant approval of seizure or attachment of property when the case is investigated by the said agency.

The Act empowers the officers of the NIA, of the rank of Inspector or above, to investigate cases of terrorism in addition to those conducted by the DSP or ACP or above rank officer in the state.

It also included the provision of designating an individual as a terrorist.

Delhi High Court defines the contours of UAPA:

In June 2021, delivering a judgment defining the contours of the otherwise “vague” Section 15 of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967, (UAPA), the Delhi High Court laid down some important principles upon the imposition of Section 15, 17 & 18 of the Act.

Sections 15, 17 and 18 of UAPA:

  1. 15 engrafts the offence of ‘terrorist act’.
  2. 17 lays-down the punishment for raising funds for committing a terrorist act.
  3. 18 engrafts the offence of ‘punishment for conspiracy etc. to commit a terrorist act or any act preparatory to commit a terrorist act’.

Key observations made by the court:

“Terrorist Act” Should not be used lightly so as to trivialise them.

Terrorist activity is that which travels beyond the capacity of law enforcement agencies to deal with under ordinary penal law (Supreme Court’s decision in the case of Hitendra Vishnu Thakur).