The Hindu Editorial Summary

Editorial Topic : Manipur Unrest

 GS-2 Mains Exam : Governance

Revision Notes

Question : Critically analyze the impact of the unrest in Manipur on India’s Act East Policy and its broader geopolitical implications.

Unrest in Manipur

  • Started in May 2023 with clashes between Kuki-Zomi tribals and Meiteis.
  • First such direct clashes in three decades.
  • 221 people killed as of May 3, 2024 [Wikipedia 2023–2024 Manipur violence].
  • 60,000 people displaced.
  • Unofficial figures likely higher.

Reasons for Unrest

  • External Factors
    • Influx of Burmese refugees due to 2021 Myanmar coup (kin ties with Kuki tribe).
    • Drug trafficking and crime due to proximity to Golden Triangle and porous borders.
  • Internal Factors
    • Demand for Scheduled Tribe status by Meiteis (opposed by tribal groups fearing reservation loss).
    • Land competition between Meiteis (Imphal Valley) and hill tribes.
    • Historic tensions between communities for political power, resources, and cultural recognition.
    • Lack of economic development leading to competition for scarce resources.
    • Government response (internet suspension, AFSPA) seen as disruptive and ineffective.

Consequences of Unrest

  • Increased cross-border crime (smuggling, drugs, arms trading).
  • Rise of extremism and militant activity.
  • Negative impact on India’s relations with neighboring countries.
  • Deterrence of investment and economic development.
  • Hinderance of India’s Act East Policy.
  • Potential human rights violations and international criticism.

Government Initiatives

  • Political dialogues with ethnic groups and stakeholders.
  • Ended Suspension of Operations agreement with KNA and ZRA (allegedly instigating discontent).
  • Development initiatives in infrastructure, education, and healthcare.
    • Northeast Special Infrastructure Development Scheme (NESIDS).
    • India-Myanmar-Thailand Trilateral Highway project.
    • National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC) partnership with Manipur.
  • Increased efforts to combat drug trafficking and cultivation (e.g., destroying poppy plantations).

Recommendations

  • Engage all stakeholders (including ethnic groups).
  • Improve governance (address corruption, inefficiency, strengthen local administration).
  • Invest in infrastructure, education, and job creation.
  • Review implementation of AFSPA, consider alternative security measures.
  • Strengthen cooperation with neighboring countries (esp. Myanmar) on cross-border issues.

Path to Peace

  • Prioritize dialogue, economic empowerment, good governance, security, cultural harmony, and international cooperation.

 

 

The Hindu Editorial Summary

Editorial Topic : Spiritual Orientation, Religious Practices and Courts

 GS-2 Mains Exam : Polity

Revision Notes

Question : Evaluate the impact of judicial interventions in religious practices on the right to religious freedom under Article 25 of the Indian Constitution. Provide examples to support your arguments.

Context:

  • Courts shouldn’t decide religious doctrines.
  • India shouldn’t allow essential practices violating core constitutional values.

Religion and its aspects:

  • Quote: “Religion to one is superstition to another” (Chief Justice Lathman, Australia, 1943).
  • Religion has always been central to human societies.
  • Indians are particularly religious.
  • Current trend: Rising religiosity, declining spirituality.

Case Study: Angapradakshinam (2024)

  • Madras High Court (Justice Swaminathan) allowed the practice.
  • Involves devotees rolling over banana leaves used by others.
  • Overrules 2015 order by Justice Manikumar (caste discrimination concerns).
  • 2015 order cited Supreme Court case (similar practice banned).

Key Points of Debate:

  • Defining “religion.”
  • Determining “essential practices.”
  • Judicial consistency in such determinations.

Arguments in favor of Angapradakshinam (by Justice Swaminathan):

  • Petitioner’s right to religious freedom (Article 25).
  • Right to privacy (Article 21) and human dignity.
  • Freedom of movement (Article 19(1)(d)).
  • Cited religious texts (Krishna Yajur Veda, Bhavishyapurana).

Unanswered Questions:

  • Is it an essential Hindu practice?
  • Mandatory or merely a custom?

 

Essential Religious Practices in India

  • Constitution over Religion: The Indian Constitution limits freedom of religion for public order, morality, health, and social reforms.
  • Sri Shirur Mutt Judgement (1954): Established freedom to practice rituals and ceremonies as part of religion.
  • Shifting Sands of Essentiality: Courts initially looked at a religion’s doctrines to define essential practices (Sri Shirur Mutt).
  • Gramsabha of Village Battis Shirala (2014): Court disregarded religious texts and used its own reasoning to decide a practice wasn’t essential.
  • M. Ismail Faruqui (1995): Court ruled offering prayers essential but not at a specific mosque, despite mosques being central to Islam.

Conclusion

Judges shouldn’t determine theology, and India shouldn’t allow essential practices violating the Constitution. The Constitution, not religion, should govern.

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