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    Current Affairs – 23rd August 2021


    • 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.
    • Details:
      • A three-member panel, which reviewed the entries in the fifth volume of the dictionary brought out by the Indian Council of Historical Research (ICHR), is understood to have recommended the deletion as it felt that the 1921 rebellion was never part of the Independence struggle, and was a fundamentalist movement focused on religious conversion.
      • None of the slogans raised by the rioters were in favour of nationalism and anti-British, it noted.
      • It concluded that Haji was a rioter who established a Sharia court and beheaded many Hindus.
      • The rioters did not spare secular Muslims.
      • Those who died at their hands were non-believers.
      • Many ‘Moplah martyrs’ facing trial died from disease or natural causes and could not be treated as martyrs. Only a handful were executed by the government.
    • About Moplah Rebellion:
      • Friday, August 20, marks the centenary of the Malabar rebellion, which is also known as the Moplah (Muslim) riots. It had been an uprising of Muslim tenants against British rulers and local Hindu landlords.
      • The uprising, which began on August 20, 1921, went on for several months marked by many bouts of bloodstained events. Some historical accounts state the uprising led to the loss of around 10,000 lives, including 2,339 rebels.
      • The popular uprising was also against the prevailing feudal system controlled by elite Hindus.
      • The British had appointed high caste Hindus in positions of authority to get their support, this led to the protest turning against the Hindus.
      • During the uprising, the rebels also attacked various symbols and institutions of the colonial state, such as telegraph lines, train stations, courts and post offices.
      • The main leaders of the rebellion were Ali Musliyar, Variankunnath Kunjahammad Haji, Sithi Koya Thangal.
      • In the initial stages, the movement had the support of Mohandas Gandhi and other Indian nationalist leaders, and a number of clashes took place between Khilafat volunteers and other religious communities, but the violence soon spread across the region.
      • One of the most noteworthy events during the rebellion later came to be known as the “Wagon Tragedy”, in which 67 out of a total of 90 Mappila prisoners destined for the Central Prison in Podanur suffocated in a closed railway goods wagon.


    • News: A ban under the stringent Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) may be imposed on both factions of the secessionist conglomerate, the Hurriyat Conference, which has been spearheading the separatist movement in Jammu and Kashmir for over two decades.
    • About Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act:
      • Under the Act, the central government may designate an organisation as a terrorist organisation if it:
        • Commits or participates in acts of terrorism,
        • Prepares for terrorism,
        • Promotes terrorism, or
        • Is otherwise involved in terrorism.
      • The Bill additionally empowers the government to designate individuals as terrorists on the same grounds.
      • Under the Act, an investigating officer is required to obtain the prior approval of the Director General of Police to seize properties that may be connected with terrorism.
      • The Bill adds that if the investigation is conducted by an officer of the National Investigation Agency (NIA), the approval of the Director General of NIA would be required for seizure of such property.
      • Under the Act, investigation of cases may be conducted by officers of the rank of Deputy Superintendent or Assistant Commissioner of Police or above.
      • The Bill additionally empowers the officers of the NIA, of the rank of Inspector or above, to investigate cases.
      • The Act defines terrorist acts to include acts committed within the scope of any of the treaties listed in a schedule to the Act.
      • The Schedule lists nine treaties, including the Convention for the Suppression of Terrorist Bombings (1997), and the Convention against Taking of Hostages (1979).
      • The Bill adds another treaty to the list.  This is the International Convention for Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism (2005).


    • News: Diplomats say that this time around, the difference is in the stand adopted by international players such as U.S., Russia and China, which have legitimised Taliban.
    • Details:
      • In 1993, India decided to close the mission in Kabul after a rocket attack on the Chancery building killed an Indian security guard. Significantly, the Indian security official was killed when rockets were fired on Kabul by Hizb-e-Islami forces commanded by Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, who is now one of the coordinating council members negotiating with the new Taliban regime.
      • The mission staff, led by Ambassador Arif Qamarain, who had only been appointed two months before that, were driven in three buses to the Uzbek border town of Termez and flown out from Tashkent, after a joint decision by the heads of the Indian, Chinese, Turkish, Pakistani and Indonesian missions in Kabul that the situation was too volatile to stay.
      • His predecessor Ambassador Vijay Nambiar had been flown out of Mazar-e-Sharif with the help of Gen. Rashid Dostum in 1992, with the IAF operating two AN-32 aircraft that also flew out the Ambassadors of ASEAN countries and others. At the time, the Kabul Air Traffic Control had been destroyed by the Taliban, wielding U.S.-supplied anti-aircraft stinger missiles, and the IAF planes had loaded anti-missile flares just in case, but fortunately did not need to deploy them.
      • The cooperation with Gen. Dostum had been secured during a special diplomatic mission by former Vice-President Hamid Ansari, who was then India’s Ambassador to Iran, and had previously served as Ambassador to Afghanistan, who carried humanitarian and medical relief to Mazar-e-Sharif.
      • In 1996, after opening the Embassy for about a year, India decided to close it again, when the Taliban entered Kabul and brutally murdered former President Najibullah and his brother, and then, more significantly, Northern Alliance forces led by Ahmed Shah Massoud retreated to the Panjshir valley.
      • The difference between then and now, 25 years later, was that this time, the U.S., Russia, China and other countries have not shunned the Taliban, and in fact appeared to legitimise them by signing a deal with them, inviting Taliban delegations to their capitals, and holding talks with them in Doha.
      • During the 1996-2001 period, India had actively supported the Northern Alliance. India’s Ambassador in Dushanbe Bharathraj Muthukumar coordinated funds, supplies for them, contacting Massoud through Amarullah Saleh (President Ashraf Ghani’s Vice-President until a week ago), and is now a leader of the anti-Taliban resistance force regrouping in the Panjshir valley.


    • News: Pakistan has decided to allow fully vaccinated Sikh pilgrims to visit Gurdwara Darbar Sahib, Kartarpur from next month with strict COVID-19 protocols.
    • About Kartarpur Corridor:
      • The Kartarpur Corridor is a visa-free border crossing and corridor, connecting the Gurdwara Darbar Sahib in Pakistan to the border with India.
      • The crossing allows devotees from India to visit the gurdwara in Kartarpur, 4.7 kilometres (2.9 miles) from the India–Pakistan border on the Pakistani side without a visa.
      • However Pakistani Sikhs are unable to use the border crossing, and cannot access Dera Baba Nanak on the Indian side without first obtaining an Indian visa or unless they work there.
      • The corridor was completed for the 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak on 12 November 2019.

    5.   Shankaracharya temple

    • News: Matter of faith Devotees at the Shankaracharya temple atop a hillock, which is locally known as Takht-e-Sulaiman, on the occasion of Raksha Bandhan in Srinagar.
    • About Shankaracharya Temple:
      • The Shankaracharya Temple is also known as the Jyeshteshwara Temple. It is situated on top of the Shankaracharya Hill on the Zabarwan Range in Srinagar, Jammu and Kashmir, India. It is dedicated to Lord Shiva. The temple is at a height of 1,000 feet (300 m) above the valley floor and overlooks the city of Srinagar.
      • It was visited by Adi Shankara and has ever since been associated with him; this is how the temple got the name Shankaracharya. It is also regarded as sacred by Buddhists.
      • The earliest historical reference to the hill comes from Kalhana. He called the mountain Gopadri.


    • News: The Quad countries — India, the U.S., Australia and Japan — will carry out the next edition of the Malabar naval exercise from August 26 to 29 off the coast of Guam amid mounting global concerns over China’s growing military muscle-flexing in the Indo-Pacific region.
    • Details:
      • Indian stealth frigate INS Shivalik and anti-submarine warfare corvette INS Kadmatt arrived in Guam, an island territory of the U.S. in the Western Pacific, on Saturday to take part in the exercise that would feature complex drills.
      • he Malabar-21 will witness high-tempo exercises among destroyers, frigates, corvettes, submarines, helicopters and long-range maritime patrol aircraft of the participating navies.