JLN Year Review | 2019, an year of landmark changes

As we say bid adieu to another eventful year, let's take a look at some of the significant changes that took place in 2019 across the nation and particularly in Jammu and Kashmir. 2019 became an year of landmark judgments by Supreme Court and masterstrokes by political bigwigs in tackling the major issues in the country.

The significant developments included Supreme Court delivering verdict in the long-pending Ayodhya case, Prime Minister Narendra Modi returning to office with a big mandate, Airstrikes conducted at a terror camp at Balakot in Pakistan, repeal of Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir and enactment of Citizenship Amendment Act etc.

January

The first month of 2019 began on a great note with Parliament passing a bill 10 per cent reservation in education and government jobs to economically-weaker sections of the general category on January 9.

George Fernandes, a former Defence Minister of India, died at 88 on January 28. He was India's defence minister in the NDA government headed by Atal Bihari Vajpayee when India fought the Kargil war in 1999.

Also, on January 27, Cabinet minister Piyush Goyal announced that India's first indigenous semi-high speed train 'Train 18' will be renamed 'Vande Bharat Express'. The train with some world-class amenities runs on New Delhi-Varanasi and New Delhi- Sri Mata Vaishno Devi Katra routes.

February

The second month of 2019 was quite eventful in terms of budget and national security. On February 1, the government presented interim budget in which farmers were provided within come support of Rs 6,000 per year to farmer families in three equal installments of Rs 2,000 each every four months under Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi (PM-KISAN) scheme.

Also, February 14 became an unfortunate day with Pakistan-based terror outfit Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) targeting a CRPF convoy on Jammu-Srinagar highway near Pulwama in South Kashmir leading to the loss of lives of 40 CPRF personnel. Also, Indian Air Force (IAF) launched an air strike on a JeM camp in Balakot in Pakistan's Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province on in early hours of February 26 thus thwarting Pakistan's efforts to launch an offensive next day.

February also became the month of Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman who was flying a MiG-21 Bison fighter plane and chasing Pakistani jets in a dogfight but as he crossed over to PoK, his aircraft was shot down. He was later taken into custody by Pakistan. In the fight, India shot down a Pakistani fighter jet.

March

The month of March began on a happy note as Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman was released by Pakistan on March 1 after intense diplomatic pressure. The entire India was watched on television sets across the country. Abhinandan was later awarded the third-highest wartime gallantry award Vir Chakra.

On March 17, Manohar Parrikar, Chief Minister of Goa and former defence minister, died at 69 after a long illness.

A big development came to picture on March 27 when India joined a selected group of three countries - US, Russia, and China which have the ability to make anti-satellite weapons. PM Modi addressed the nation and announced that anti-satellite weapons launched by A-SAT successfully had destroyed a live satellite on a low-earth orbit.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed the nation and announced that anti-satellite weapons launched by A-SAT successfully had destroyed a live satellite on a low-earth orbit. India joined a select group of three countries - US, Russia, and China--which have such ability.

April

April was the month of general elections in India i.e., biggest democratic exercise in the world which was held in seven phases. It started on April 11 along with four states which went to poll as well. About 900 million people were eligible to vote and voter turnout was over 67 per cent - the highest ever as well as the highest participation by women voters.

Legislative assembly elections in the states of Andhra Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, Odisha and Sikkim were held simultaneously with the general election.

May

On May 23,  the results of elections were announced in which BJP created history for a second successive time by winning 303 seats, further increasing its substantial majority and the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance won 353 seats. The Congress could win only 52, eight more than it won in 2014 polls. Besides, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi lost from the family stronghold of Amethi to Union Minister Smriti Irani. He resigned later as party chief, taking moral responsibility for the party's performance.

And, YSR Congress swept Assembly poll in Andhra Pradesh, Naveen Patnaik- led Biju Janata Dal (BJD) retained Odisha, BJP won a majority in Arunachal Pradesh and Sikkim Krantikari Morcha (SKM) ousted Pawan Kumar Chamling government in Sikkim.

June

In the month of June, two doctors were attacked and beaten up by of a deceased over alleged medical negligence at NRS Medical College and Hospital in Kolkata so their colleagues went on a major strike after harassment. Slowly and steadily, all medical colleges in West Bengal and entire India went on strike which crippled outdoor patient services (OPD) across hospitals in the country. The agitation came to an end after assurances of safety from West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.

Jnanpith Award-winning playwright Girish Karnad died in Bengaluru on June 10. He was 81. Karnad was a huge figure in the Kannada literary scene.

July

On July 20, Sheila Dikshit, a veteran Congress politician and the longest-serving Chief Minister of Delhi died of a cardiac arrest at a private hospital at the age of 88.

The Unnao rape case victim was critically injured in a truck-car collision in Rae Bareli on July 28 which led to widespread anguish and concern in the country and the accused, then BJP MLA Kuldeep Sengar was convicted to life imprisonment by a Delhi court in December.

On July 22, Chandrayaan 2, the second lunar exploration mission developed by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) was launched.

Also on July 30, Parliament approved the bill that made instant Triple Talaq a criminal offence.

August

The month of August brought major changes for the then Jammu and Kashmir State. The Parliament adopted a resolution to repeal Article 370, which gave special status to Jammu and Kashmir. It was followed by a complete internet ban since August 5 across Jammu and Kashmir. The Parliament also passed a bill for bifurcation of Jammu and Kashmir into two union territories. But, the two union territories of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh came into existence as UTs on October 31.

On August 6, Sushma Swaraj, former foreign minister and BJP veteran, died after a cardiac arrest, leaving political leaders and her legions of admirers in grief. She was 67.

On August 21, Former Union home and finance minister P Chidambaram was arrested by the Central Bureau of Investigation after a night of high-voltage drama that saw CBI officers climbing walls to enter Chidambaram's home. He was arrested in the INX Media case, in which he has been accused of wrongdoing, money laundering and misusing the post of finance minister.

Arun Jaitley, former Finance Minister and BJP veteran, died on August 24. The 66-year-old died at Delhi's premier All India Institute of Medical Sciences. He was one of the most trusted ministers of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and was acknowledged as the ultimate backroom strategist and a key troubleshooter of the party.

A major stir began in Assam after the final list of National Register of Citizens (NRC) to identify illegal immigrants was published on August 31 in which more than 19 lakh people were excluded.

September

On the night of September 7, India's ambitious moon mission Chandrayaan 2 had to witness Vikram Lander's soft landing near the south pole of moon but minutes before its scheduled landing, ISRO lost contact with the Vikram lander. ISRO Chief K Sivan broke down after that following which Prime Minister Narendra Modi hugged and consoled him as he was in Bengaluru to address the nation from ISRO control centre.

On September 8, Ram Jethmalani, one of India's well-known lawyers and a former union minister passed away. He was 95. A six-time Rajya Sabha member, Ram Jethmalani served as a Union Minister in the United Front and the BJP-led NDA governments.

On September 22, Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed over 50,000 people at NRG Football Stadium in Houston, US at 'Howdy, Modi!' event. The event, which was the largest gathering ever for an elected foreign leader visiting the US, also saw the participation of President Donald Trump.

October

In the month of October, the BJP registered its first back-to-back poll victory in Maharashtra Assembly election in alliance with the Shiv Sena. The coalition crossed the half-way mark of 145 even before the trends for 250 seats were available for the 288-member Maharashtra Assembly. But the allies had issues over CM post so they drifted apart which was then led to days of uncertainty and in a surprise development, Devendra Fadnavis formed the government with the support of Nationalist Congress Party's Ajit Pawar. But, later, Fadnavis resigned days later and a government in the state under the leadership of Shiv Sena's Uddhav Thackeray.

On October 31, Jammu and Kashmir transitioned from a state into two union territories and Prime Minister Narendra Modi reiterated that the "new system" is aimed at "building a strong link of trust". President Ram Nath Kovind revoked President's rule imposed in the restive state and took over control of the administration of the two new union territories, Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh.

November

The highest court of the country i.e., Supreme Court gave landmark judgment on November 9. It delivered verdict in decades-old Ram Mandir-Babri Masjid dispute. A five-judge bench of the apex court unanimously ruled in the favour of Ram Lalla and handed over the entire disputed land to a trust which would be set up by the government. The court ordered the government to provide five acres of land for the construction of a mosque at a prominent location in Ayodhya.

Also, Kartarpur Sahib Corridor connecting Dera Baba Nanak Sahib in India's Gurdaspur and Gurdwara Darbar Sahib in Pakistan's Kartarpur was opened for pilgrims on November 9.

On November 10, Former Chief Election Commissioner TN Seshan, an icon of Indian bureaucracy for ushering in tectonic reforms in the country's electoral process during his tenure in the nineties died of a cardiac arrest at the age of 86.

On November 27, a 26-year-old veterinary doctor in Shamshabad was gang raped and murdered in Shamshabad, near Hyderabad which led to major outrage across nation. Following this, four suspects were arrested by Cyberabad Metropolitan Police. All four accused were killed in a police encounter on 6 December 2019.

December

In December 2019, the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2019 was passed by the Parliament of India which amended the Citizenship Act of 1955 by providing a path to Indian citizenship for Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi, and Christian religious minorities that had fled persecution from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan before December 2014. The Muslims were not given such eligibility so the amendment has been widely criticized as discriminating on the basis of religion, in particular for excluding Muslims.

On December 30, Indian Army chief General Bipin Rawat has been named India's first Chief of Defence Staff. General Rawat was named the Chief of Defence Staff just a day before he was to retire from service after completeing a full three-year term as the Chief of Army Staff.

On December 31, General Manoj Mukund Naravane took charge as the Chief of Army Staff, succeeding General Bipin Rawat.

 

 

 

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Author

Hardeep Bali