India Current Affairs 2017

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‘CASO’ to be Reintroduced as Part of Counter Terrorism Operations

Indian Army has planned to re-introduce cordon and search operations (CASO) as a part of its counter terrorism operations after a gap of 15 years. The major objective behind the reintroduction of combing operations is to bring the situation in the Kashmir Valley under control. Hereafterwards, Army will carry out CASO in a major way to flush out militants in the militancy-hit areas of Kulgam, Pulwama, Tral, Budgam and Shopian in south Kashmir, indicating a change in strategy.

Background

CASO was a regular feature of Army’s counter-terrorism operations in the 1990s. The security forces made use of “area domination and sweep” operations in the 1990s. During those times, such operations were commonly conducted by the Indian Army. Later, following the complaints of discomfort caused to the local population, the Army switched to specific intelligence-based operations involving small teams and CASO was discontinued.

The recent decision to re-introduce CASO comes against the backdrop of the recent killing of unarmed Kashmiri Army officer Lieutenant Ummer Fayaz in Shopian by militants.

Recently, the Army, security forces and police had also carried out a massive cordon and combing operation in south Kashmir’s Shopian district following the recent militant attacks on policemen and banking facilities. It was the first time in 15 years that the combing operation of this magnitude involving 4,000 troops was conducted by the security forces.

 

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Supreme Court begins hearing Final Arguments on the Constitutional Validity of Triple Talaq

A five-judge bench headed by Chief Justice of India JS Khehar has begun hearing petitions challenging the practice of triple talaq. The petitions that have been filed in the past two years by Muslim women, who have been affected by the practice of Triple Talaq, has prayed for the abolition of the practice as it was discriminatory and biased and violated their right to equality. The lead petition has been titled “Quest for Equality vs Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind“. Interestingly, the case will be heard by five judges from five different communities, namely, CJI J S Khehar (Sikh) and Justices Kurian Joseph (Christian), R F Nariman (Parsi), U U Lalit (Hindu) and Abdul Nazeer (Muslim).

The Supreme Court will complete hearing of the petitions before May 19. A judgment in the case can be expected to be delivered in the month of June.

The Supreme Court has stated that it would determine the constitutional validity of the triple talaq  and would not examine the Islamic custom of polygamy, while hearing petitions challenging triple talaq.

Talaq-ul-bidat or Triple talaq is a Sharia law practice which men are given power to end a marriage by simply saying the Urdu word ‘talaq’ three times at one sitting.

Background

India has world’s third-largest Muslim population governed by the Sharia or Islamic jurisprudence. Under the Sharia law, women face the threat of oral and out-of-court divorce by uttering triple talaq. There are reports that several women are being divorced even via phone, text messages, newspapers advertisements, instant messaging apps like WhatsApp.

According to the petitioners, triple talaq is not a form of divorce recognised in the Quran.

The Central government has come out in favour of abolishing the practice of triple talaq. The Central government as a part of its written submissions to the Supreme Court has stated that since gender equality is part of the basic structure of the Constitution, Muslim women cannot be denied this right. This is the first time the Central government has taken a firm stand on this contentious issue.

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In a First for a Government Owned Company Kochi Metro Appoints Transgenders

Kochi Metro will employ 23 members from the transgender community. This is the first time a government owned company has formally appointed members of the transgender community. These 23 workers will be a part of the 530 Kudumbasree workers to be employed at 11 stations in the Kochi Metro. While the better educated workers would be posted at ticket counters, the rest will be deputed for housekeeping works, customer relations, parking, gardening and to man the coach-depot canteen.

All of the workers have been appointed after written test and interview and have been imparted training in soft and technical skills.

Kochi Metro

Kochi Metro is an under-construction metro system to cater to the needs of Kochi in Kerala. The first phase of the metro project covering a 13.4 km distance from Aluva to Palarivattom is set to become operational soon. A second 5km section of the line from Palarivattom up to Maharaja’s College will be made operational after that.

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