IASbaba’s Daily Current Affairs – 8th February, 2016
TOPIC: General studies 2:
Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests.
Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests, Indian diaspora.
Important International institutions, agencies and fora- their structure, mandate.
Palestine’s deepening occupation
Israel being criticised by a serving American diplomat for its treatment of Palestinians is not very common as usually, American leaders and diplomats defend Israel’s “right to fight terror”.
Why in news?
On January 18, 2016, U.S. ambassador to Israel, said that “at times it seems Israel” employs two standards of law in the occupied West Bank, one for Israelis and the other for Palestinians.
On the same day, the European Union (EU) foreign affairs council unanimously adopted a resolution, stating that EU agreements with Israel applied only to the State of Israel within the pre-1967 border, not to Jewish settlements in the Palestinian territories.
A week later, United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon joined them. He said the continued settlement activity in the West Bank was “an affront to the Palestinian people and to the international community”.
The above criticisms, even from unlikely quarters, demonstrate the growing levels of frustration in the international community with the freeze in the peace process and the way Israel is treating Palestinians.
A new wave of violence has been sweeping through the occupied territories for months. Since last October, at least 25 Israelis and more than 150 Palestinians were killed in attacks, counter-attacks and clashes with security forces.
Israel’s response to this crisis:
Israel’s response to this crisis has been typical security crackdown and provocation.
It blames the Palestinian leadership for inciting violence.
The security forces shoot dead the Palestinian attackers, mostly teenaged boys and girls.
The attackers’ family members are punished and houses demolished.
The Israeli government has also deployed more troops in Jerusalem and checkpoints in the West Bank, invited even civilians to volunteer with firearms and further restricted the movement of Palestinians.
At the same time, Israel decided to go ahead with an earlier decision to expand the settlements in the West Bank and seize more Palestinian land, in an apparent provocation.
Ever since Israel has occupied East Jerusalem in 1967, Jewish settlements in the city have mushroomed while Palestinians have been forced to live in their historical neighbourhoods.
In East Jerusalem where Palestinians predominantly reside, Israel has set aside 52 per cent of land as unavailable for development and 35 per cent for Jewish settlements.
The Palestinian population in the city, over 300,000, was left with only 13 per cent.
About 75.3 per cent of the city’s residents and 82.2 per cent of children lived below the poverty line in 2012.
Peace is the need of the hour:
The Israeli government says there won’t be peace as long as violence continues.
But from the Palestinian perspective, whatever concessions they have got from Israel, came only through uprisings.
Unsurprisingly, most Palestinians support armed uprisings.
According to a survey conducted in Gaza and the West Bank in December by the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research, 66 per cent of Palestinians believe an armed intifada would serve their national interests better than negotiations.
Only less than half of the respondents support the two-state solution.
This is an alarming scenario, which needs international intervention.
Connecting the dots:
Critically examine the reasons for the continued Israel Palestine conflict for nearly five decades.
Is Israel a natural friend of India? Comment
What should be India’s response towards Israel Palestine conflict? Substantiate
General studies 1:
Demography and developmental issues, their problems and their remedies.Effects of globalization on Indian society.Social empowerment, communalism, regionalism & secularism, racism
General studies 2:
Mechanisms, laws, institutions and Bodies constituted for the protection and betterment of these vulnerable sections.
General studies 3:
Challenges to internal security;Inclusive growth and issues arising from it.
Racism: Taking Pride in Prejudice
Racism playing a major role in our day to day life has become a common phenomenon and when it takes a violent turn, the burning wrath flares up and burns along many misconceptions placed. More so, because of the various forms of internalisations already established in one’s system of thought process
Are Indians Racist?
Presence of advertisements that asks us to transform the colour of our skin
Applauding of a film in which the heroine cringes after sleeping with a black man
Scenes that entertain us the most are on the lines of Rajinikanth drinking gallons of saffron milk and lying in a tub of multanimitti in the hope of being worthy enough to woo his pretty fair-skinned love
Hearing people at weddings say that the bride is too fair for the groom
Complimenting a dark-skinned person grudgingly: she’s pretty despite being dark
Eye-openers (on paper)—
Death of an Arunachal Pradesh college student Nido Tania in 2014 portraying again the biases exhibited; people from the Northeast would being harassed by employers and landlords, and the case of their feeling Bengaluru in 2012 following rumours about violent attacks being planned against them
Survey conducted in 2012 by the North-East India Image Managers about the perception of people from other parts of the country about the Northeast:
52 per cent of respondents had a negative perception about the region
Riddled with insurgency and the most unsafe place in the country
People with mongoloid features and weird food habits and an alien culture
87 per cent of working professionals spoken to— couldn’t name the seven Northeast States.
Let us deal with the socio-psychological aspects of it
Combating racism in India:
First- Requires acceptance of its existence
Second- Involves understanding the definition of racism as racism does not concern prejudices alone; it is a system of oppression, one that creates two sets of people: the powerful and the powerless, those whose citizenship is taken for granted and those whose citizenship is questioned every other day
M.P. Bezbaruah chaired Committee:
Was set up following the shocking attack and murder of 19-year-old Nido Tania at a South Delhi market in 2014
Suggested several measures that would ensure that the people of the Northeast feel more included
New law against discrimination:
Either a new law should be promulgated or the Indian Penal Code should be amended and the offence should be cognizable and non-bailable.
The investigation of the FIR should be completed in 60 days by a special squad and investigated by a police officer not below the rank of deputy SP or ACP.
A special prosecutor should be appointed to handle all such cases of atrocities and the trial should be completed in 90 days.
Fast-track courts and special police squads:
Creation of fast-track courts for handling the cases relating to the North East people, particularly those which are racially motivated and involving heinous crimes against the North East women and children
Specially designated public prosecutors should be appointed for cases involving people from the North East and be properly trained and sensitised.
Creation of a special squad supervised by the North East Special Police Unit would go a long way in ensuring speedy justice in criminal cases as the squad could be manned by people specially selected for such purposes and they could be specially trained and sensitised about the problems of people from the North East.
Interventions in Education:
Suitable innovative ways should be devised to integrate each and every aspect of the North East into the consciousness of people outside
Universities and schools outside the North East make projects on North East a mandatory part of the course curricula
A detailed socio-economic study of the nature of student migration from the North East would be worthwhile as it will provide valuable insight for planning of higher education in the region.
Social media outreach and legal awareness campaigns:
The committee recommends legal awareness campaigns and underlines the role of social media in improving connectivity and communication with the community
A dedicated Facebook page should be created and nodal police officers should be in constant touch with members of the community on WhatsApp.
Bonding power of sports:
Ministry should take steps to hold regular national and international events in the North East as such events will create greater harmony and better understanding
Review the status of present facilities and make an assessment if they are suitable for such events and if not, such facilities should be created in every state of the North East.
Indigenous games of the North East should be promoted.
It is time for India to confront an embedded racism—
The tardiness of the police and their reluctance to protect the victim should be probed while making sure that a responsive police and legal apparatus are in place as it is crucial for securing the rights of minorities, whether women, Dalits, citizens from the Northeast or visitors from Africa.
Indians need to take drastic action to end racism against black Africans as India cannot become a leading player in world affairs while behaving like animals toward foreigners in our country.
Also, the Indian expectation of equal treatment is justified; provided we do unto others as we expect others to do unto us.
Education of young people and police on the evils of racism is imperative along with the featuring of famous personalities in public information TV commercials on the evils of racism
Connecting the Dots:
Enlist the short-term and long-term measures that must be taken by the government to counter the discrimination faced by North-Eastern and African community.
Is India a racist country? How do you combat racism? How are the other countries dealing with this social evil?
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