Current Affairs – 6 December 2021

Nagaland Violence

Indian Express

GS 2 and 3: North East Insurgency, Centre-State Relations, Government Policies & Interventions

Context:

  • Recently, in Nagaland state, Indian security forces fired at people demonstrating against the killing of 13 civilians (Konyaks –the largest tribes in the state).

About:

  • Nagaland is under the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act – AFSPA – which gives considerable immunity to security forces conducting operations against insurgents.
  • AFSPA is in force in the Northeast since 1958 and Nagaland acquired Statehood in 1963.

  • Public gathering of more than five people at a time has been banned in the Mon district, and movement of all vehicles of non-essential nature, including commercial vehicles, has been prohibited under section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPc).
  • The Mon area is the stronghold of Naga group NSCN (K) and even ULFA and the incident comes during the state’s signature “Hornbill festival”.

Tribe:

  • Known to be one of the fiercest warrior tribes in Nagaland, the Konyaks were the last to give up the practice of head-hunting – severing heads of enemies after attacking rival tribes –  as late as the 1980s.

Impact of this violence:

  • It will give credence to the longstanding narrative of India versus Naga people. It goes on to strengthen the hands of insurgent groups, even if temporarily.
  • This incident will force even pro-India groups to articulate public sentiments over the issue. This incident now not only gives NSCN-IM a handle to push back against India in the negotiations but also puts pressure on other groups to raise their voice.
    • There are four other groups with whom the Centre has signed a ceasefire agreement — the NSCN (NK), NSCN(R), NSCN (K-Khango) and NSCN (Niki Sumi).

  • The NSCN-IM called it a “black day” for all Nagas and termed the incident “unprecedented in recent history”.

Way ahead:

  • It will require rather deft handling from the Centre, beginning with quick and visible action against those responsible.
  • The Indo-Naga peace talks are over. Now the Indian government needs to push through the peace process. All will depend on whether they continue to take a lukewarm approach to the problem or decide to forge ahead. If the peace process was in place, the Centre would have to repeal AFSPA from Nagaland, and such incidents then would not occur.

 

Red Tape in Sexual Harassment Cases

The Hindu

GS 1: Important aspects of governance, transparency and accountability, e-governance applications, models, successes, limitations, and potential, Women relates issues

Context:

  • In a recent judgement, the Supreme Court pointed out the power dynamics and condemns red tape in sexual harassment cases.

Highlights of judgment:

  • The right against sexual harassment at workplace is part of the fundamental right to a dignified life and it takes a lot of courage for a subordinate to overcome the fear to speak up against a lewd superior.
  • The courts should not be “hyper-technical” while dealing with sexual harassment cases, and be aware of the odds that a survivor has to overcome to bring to light the sexual misconduct.
  • It is important to be mindful of the power dynamics that are mired in sexual harassment at the workplace.
  • There are several considerations and deterrents that a subordinate aggrieved of sexual harassment has to face when they consider reporting sexual misconduct of their superior.
  • The judgment highlighted a rising trend of invalidation of proceedings inquiring into sexual misconduct on “hyper-technical interpretations of the applicable service rules.
  • At times, court turns the legal process into a punishment in cases under the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition, and Redressal) Act 2013.

  • This Act is a transformative legislation, which penalises several misconducts of a sexual nature and imposes a mandate on public and private organisations to create adequate mechanisms for redressal.
  • It is important that courts uphold the spirit of the right against sexual harassment, which is vested in all persons as a part of their right to life and right to dignity under Article 21 of the Constitution.

 

Statutory Bail

Business Standard

GS 2: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.

Context:

  • The National Investigative Agency (NIA) has moved Supreme Court challenging the Bombay High Court’s December 1 order granting bail to lawyer-activist Sudha Bharadwaj by the Bombay High Court in the 2018 Elgar Parishad case.

About:

  • The National Investigation Agency (NIA) has petitioned the Supreme Court to overturn a Bombay High Court ruling awarding Sudha Bharadwaj bail.
  • The court has ordered the NIA Court to determine on the conditions of her release in its bail order.
  • In the same instance, she was allowed ‘default bail,’ while eight others were refused the benefit.
  • Even though statutory bail is typically regarded “an indefeasible right,” the case underscores the complexities inherent in a court evaluating the conditions in which it is granted or rejected.

Statutory bail:

  • Default bail, also known as statutory bail, is a right to bail that emerges when police fail to complete an investigation into a person in court custody within a certain time limit.
  • When the police are unable to finish an investigation within 24 hours, they must present the suspect in court and seek orders for either police or judicial detention, according to Section 167(2) of the Code of Criminal Procedure.
  • This clause refers to the total amount of time a person can be held in custody before a charge sheet is filed.
  • The police have 60 days to finish their investigation and file a final report with the court for most offences.
  • The period allowed is 90 days if the offence carries a death sentence, life imprisonment, or a sentence of at least 10 years in prison.
  • A magistrate cannot extend a person’s judicial remand beyond the 60- or 90-day limit.
  • If the investigation is not completed at the end of this time, the court will release the person “if he is willing to and does supply bail.”

 

‘Greater Tipraland’ 

Indian Express

GS 2 and 3: North East Insurgency, Centre-State Relations, Government Policies & Interventions

Context:

  • Several tribal outfits in Tripura have joined hands to push their demand for a separate state for indigenous communities in the region.

About:

  • The parties are demanding a separate state of ‘Greater Tipraland’ for the indigenous communities of the north-eastern state. They want the Centre to carve out the separate state under Article 2 and 3 of the Constitution.

  • Among the 19 notified Scheduled Tribes in Tripura, Tripuris (aka Tipra and Tiprasas) are the largest. According to the 2011 census, there are at least 5.92 lakh Tripuris in the state, followed by Reangs (1.88 lakh) and Jamatias (83,000).

Constitutional provisions:

  • Article 2 deals with admission or establishment of new states. “Parliament may by law admit into the Union, or establish, new States on such terms and conditions, as it thinks fit,” it states.
  • Article 3 comes into play in the case of “formation of new States and alteration of areas, boundaries or names of existing States” by the Parliament.

Background:

  • Tripura was a kingdom ruled by the Manikya dynasty from the late 13th century until the signing of the Instrument of Accession with the Indian government on October 15, 1949.
  • The demand mainly stems from the anxiety of the indigenous communities in connection with the change in the demographics of the state, which has reduced them to a minority. It happened due to the displacement of Bengalis from the erstwhile East Pakistan between 1947 and 1971.
  • From 63.77% in 1881, the population of the tribals in Tripura was down to 31.80% by 2011. In the intervening decades, ethnic conflict and insurgency gripped the state, which shares a nearly 860-km long boundary with Bangladesh.
  • The joint forum has also pointed out that the indigenous people have not only been reduced to a minority, but have also been dislodged from land reserved for them by the penultimate king of the Manikya dynasty Bir Bikram Kishore Debbarman.

Initiatives to Address the Issue:

  • Tripura Tribal Areas Autonomous District Council(TTADC) was formed under the sixth schedule of the Constitution in 1985 to ensure development and secure the rights and cultural heritage of the tribal communities.
    • ‘Greater Tipraland’ envisages a situation in which the entire TTADC area will be a separate state. It also proposes dedicated bodies to secure the rights of the Tripuris and other aboriginal communities living outside Tripura.
  • The TTADC, which has legislative and executive powers, covers nearly two-third of the state’s geographical area.
  • The council comprises 30 members of which 28 are elected while two are nominated by the Governor.

Way Forward:

  • Economic and social viability rather than political considerations must be given primacy.
  • There should be certain clear-cut parameters and safeguards to check the unfettered demands.
  • It is better to allow democratic concerns like development, decentralisation and governance rather than religion, caste, language or dialect to be the valid bases for conceding the demands for a new state.
  • Apart from this the fundamental problems of development and governance deficit such as concentration of power, corruption, administrative inefficiency etc must be addressed.