There are major differences in the level of education in India – between men and women as well as between different states and social groups. The country has a number of world-class elite universities, while elementary school in the countryside is lagging behind in several states.
In principle, general compulsory schooling between the ages of 6 and 14 applies. In 2010, a law was passed that gives all children of these ages, regardless of social background or gender, the right to demand free basic education. The government must make the necessary funds available. To attract all children to school and reduce malnutrition among them, the government has introduced a free meal plan a day.
In practice, almost all boys have gone to school for at least a few years. Among girls, attendance at school is lower. Particularly in rural areas, a common reason for school absenteeism is that children are often allowed to help with the provision of care at home, even though child labor is prohibited.
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It costs nothing to go to state schools but in these the standard is usually low on tuition, premises etc. In the private schools it is better but the fees can be high. The government strives to get more children from poor families into the private schools in different ways.
Schools are under the federal states and the differences have often been large, both in education policy and in curricula. So far, India has tried to remedy the shortcomings that exist through special efforts on girls and on equal basic education for all. Not least, efforts have been made to increase reading and writing skills. According to the 2011 census, three quarters of the population could read and write (82 percent of men and 65 percent of women), a sharp increase from just over 43 percent in 1981. The UN agency Unesco indicates marginally lower figures for 2015 than those in the 2011 census. The gap between men and women in literacy has narrowed.
Most schools teach three languages: the regional language, Hindi and English.
After elementary school there is a voluntary supplementary stage for pupils aged 14 to 18 years. A few years into the 2010s, more than six out of ten pupils in the current age group joined the extension phase. Among them, half were boys and half were girls.
Advanced research is being conducted at Indian universities and colleges and India is a leading nation in computer and IT technology. There are both state and federal universities, a total of well over 500, and more than 30,000 colleges of various kinds. Federal universities usually specialize in certain subjects.
Although they maintain a good international standard, there are warning signs that the quality of research is stagnating. Recent criticisms have also been made of increased political governance of the universities. The number of students enrolled in higher education is constantly increasing and several million students graduate every year. Many students are adopted by caste or religion rather than by knowledge, and cheating has become a problem.
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FACTS – EDUCATION
Proportion of children starting primary school
92.3 percent (2013)
Number of pupils per teacher in primary school
Reading and writing skills
69.3 percent (2011)
Public expenditure on education as a percentage of GDP
14.1 percent (2013)
Public expenditure on education as a percentage of the state budget
14.1 percent (2013)
BJP politicians are given life for rape
A BJP politician is sentenced to life imprisonment for rape on a teenage girl in Uttar Pradesh in 2017. The case got a lot of attention when the girl in 2018 tried to set fire to herself when the police did not take her testimony seriously. The day after the girl’s suicide attempt, her father died in police custody. The family says he was tortured to death. Some time later, the girl was seriously injured in a disputed car accident investigated by police. The BJP excluded the politician in August 2019 when the case began to be rewritten in the media.
Protests against the Citizenship Act
In several places in India, protests continue against the new Citizenship Act, which some consider to discriminate against Muslims, while others think it opens up too much immigration. Large demonstrations are held in Delhi, Bombay, Hyderabad, Bangalore and Calcutta, among others. After more than a week, about 20 people have been killed in the unrest, among other things several protesters have been shot dead by the police. In Assam’s largest city of Guwahati, at least six people are killed. In Mangalore, southern India, three protesters have been shot to death by security forces since they refused to obey the police order to dissolve the protest action. Also in Uttar Pradesh, several people are killed. In West Bengal and Delhi, the authorities are blocking the internet in several districts as protests are being spread over the Internet. In New Delhi, several buses are set on fire and some 50 people are injured in the violence. The Delhi Police forbids people from gathering in certain places in the city in an effort to reduce violence.
Disputed citizenship law is approved
Both chambers of the federal parliament are voting for the Modi government’s proposal to amend the Citizenship Act so that non-Muslims from the three Muslim-dominated neighboring Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan can more easily gain Indian citizenship. The fact that the law does not apply to Muslims leads to mass protests in many parts of the country, and the military is mobilized in the states of Tripura and Assam in the northeast. The law was passed by the lower house the day before it was pushed through the upper house. The law means that Hindus, Buddhists, Sikhs, Jainists, Christians and Persians who flee persecution in the three countries should be able to obtain Indian citizenship more quickly – even without full documentation. Muslims are exempted from this right on the grounds that they can seek refuge in other Muslim-dominated countries. The decision leads to upset scenes in Parliament, where among other Congress parties criticize the law for discriminating against Muslims. For many Muslims and Muslim organizations, the law is part of what they perceive as the Modi government’s attempt to marginalize the country’s Muslims, a claim Modi denies. The new law is actually an addition to the 1955 Indian Citizenship Act which prohibits migrants without documentation to apply for Indian citizenship.
New brutal group rape riot
Popular protests erupt in several parts of India in response to a group rape in Hyderabad where four men rape and murder a female veterinarian whose body they then burn. Requirements are raised for stricter laws against similar crimes. The men are arrested but later shot dead by police as they try to escape.
Lowest growth in six years
The Indian economy shows the lowest growth rate of over six years – 4.5 percent – during the quarter of July – September 2019. The same quarter of 2018, growth was 7.0 percent. This is the sixth consecutive quarter that the growth rate is declining. The development represents a major challenge for the Modi government, whose promises of millions of new jobs are becoming increasingly difficult to fulfill. Finance Minister Sitharaman has been trying to reverse the trend by easing restrictions on foreign investment in key sectors, lowering corporate taxes and implementing more sales. India’s central bank has lowered its key rate five times in 2019. The trend means that in 2019 China will go about India as the world’s fastest growing economy.
Pakistan allows pilgrimage of Indian Sikhs
Hundreds of Indian Sikhs make a pilgrimage four kilometers into Pakistan to the village of Kartapur, where Sikh founder Guru Nanak is believed to have died. The pilgrimage is possible thanks to a cooperation between India and Pakistan in the form of a secure temporary visa-free country corridor. The collaboration is seen by assessors as one of the few examples of collaboration between the two arch enemies in a time of severe tension.
Temple battle goes BJP’s way
The Supreme Court ruled that a Hindu temple can be built at the site in Ayodhya in northern India where Hindus demolished the 460-year-old Babri Mosque in 1992 (see Modern History). The Hindus believed that the mosque was built on top of a temple dedicated to the Hindu war god Ram. The court says that a foundation will oversee the new temple building and Muslims should establish a new mosque at another location. The court’s decision is seen by many as a success for Modi and the BJP.
The state of Jammu and Kashmir ceases
The state of Jammu and Kashmir formally ceases to exist and is instead transformed into two federally administered territories: Ladakh and Jammu and Kashmir.
Modi meets Xi
An informal meeting takes place between Prime Minister Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping in the resort of Mahabalipuram south of Madras (Chennai). The two leaders pay tribute to the relations between the two countries, but the concrete results of the meeting seem to be few. The purpose of the meeting is, among other things, to try to reduce the tensions that escalated when India declared in August 2019 that Ladakh in the Himalayas, at the border with China, should be its own Union territory, which means that New Delhi will increase its influence over the area.
The Kashmiris can use their mobiles again
The government of New Delhi is lifting the blockade of mobile networks in Kashmir. This takes place just over two months after the networks were shut down in connection with the revocation of the state’s autonomy (see August 2019). As a result, around four million people in the area can use their mobile phones again. However, the Internet is still blocked in Kashmir.
Tourists can visit Kashmir again
Tourists are again allowed to visit the Indian-controlled Kashmir, which has not been allowed since the beginning of August when the authorities asked visitors to leave the area.
Journalist protest in Kashmir
More than 100 journalists in Indian-controlled Kashmir carry out a silent protest action against the fact that mobile networks and the internet are still shut down in the area. A media center set up by the government in Jammu and Kashmir is not enough, according to the demonstrative journalists.
Modi: the promise of toilets for everyone is fulfilled
In a speech on the 150th anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi’s birth, Prime Minister Modi declared that no residents need to fulfill their needs in the open since 110 million new toilets have been built in India since 2014. Thus, the government has fulfilled an election promise from that year. Modi says that 600 million inhabitants in 60 months have had access to the toilet. However, several experts question Modi’s statement and say that there are still areas where residents do not have toilets, or choose not to use the toilets that exist. At the same time, Modi explains that his next goal is to make India free of disposable plastic by 2022.
Criticism when known Kashmir politicians are arrested
Kashmiri MP Farooq Abdullah, 81, and former chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir, is arrested under the controversial Public Safety Act (PSA). Thus, he can be kept in detention for up to two years. Abdullah belongs to the Kashmiri leaders who were placed under house arrest in connection with India revoking Kashmir’s autonomy (see August 2019). The New Delhi government is believed to have detained thousands of people after the recall, including activists, local politicians, journalists and businessmen.
Oil pipeline to Nepal is inaugurated
An oil pipeline that crosses the border between India and Nepal is inaugurated. It is the first oil pipeline in South Asia that crosses a national border. The leadership is to be seen as part of India’s and China’s struggle for influence over the countries of the region. Nepal has been a part of China’s infrastructure project BRI (Belt and Road Initiative, also known as the New Silk Road) since 2017.
Authorities confirm casualties in Kashmir
A first death in connection with the unrest in Kashmir since the area lost its autonomy on August 5 is confirmed from official sources. It concerns a 16-year-old boy who was shot by police in August and who has now died from his gunshot wounds.
Increased defense cooperation with Russia
India will cooperate more with Russia in trade, defense and energy. It states Prime Minister Modi during a meeting with his “close friend”, Russian President Vladimir Putin, who invited Modi and several other Asian leaders to Vladivostok in eastern Russia. According to Modi, large joint investments should be made in oil and gas extraction and possibly in civil aviation. Since 2015, Russia has been inviting annually an economic meeting with Asian countries to strengthen the ties between Russia and Asia.
Two million could become stateless in Assam
The state government in Assam publishes an updated version of the controversial National Register of Citizens (NRC). While 31.1 million Assambor are defined as Indian citizens in the registry, 1.9 million residents of the state are not enrolled in the NRC. Most of the latter group are Muslims, who thus risk becoming stateless and put in refugee camps. The excluded are entitled to appeal the decision to a special court within 120 days. Assam is ruled by the BJP and critics claim that the register is a way for the Hindu Nationalist Party to reduce the number of Muslims in India.
Opens for more foreign investment
The Modi government decides to ease the restrictions on foreign investment in four important sectors: coal mining, manufacturing, digital media and in parts of the retail sector. The aim is to accelerate the country’s slowing economy by increasing exports and creating more jobs. During the last three quarters, the pace of growth has stopped and India has lost its position as the world’s fastest growing economy.
“At least 500 protests in Jammu and Kashmir”
At least 500 protest actions have erupted in Jammu and Kashmir since the Modi government revoked the area’s autonomy on August 5, 2019. Over half of them have occurred in Srinagar. In many cases, these are stone-throwing protesters, who are met by police tear gas and shots from a kind of pellet guns. It states a highly regarded government source for the news agency AFP. Access to the Internet, mobile networks and other communications is still severely limited at the same time as the security supply in the mountain area is large. According to the same government source, at least 100 civilians, 300 police officers and just over 100 paramilitary soldiers have been injured in the unrest. However, no deaths should have been reported according to the source. Other sources state aberrant information: according to relatives of the victims, three people have been killed in clashes with security police,
Extra money for the Treasury
The Indian Central Bank grants extra capital (just over $ 24 billion) to the federal government. The decision prompted critics to claim that the central bank is no longer independent in relation to the New Delhi government. The Modi government wants to strengthen the Treasury to be able to accelerate the slowing economic growth and reduce the relatively high unemployment.
Thousands arrested in Kashmir
According to a government employee, 4,000 people have been arrested in Kashmir since self-government was revoked on August 5. Most have been arrested for preventive purposes in order to avoid riots and other unrest. These are local politicians, protesters and lawyers with many who oppose the cessation of self-government.
Violent protests in Kashmir
Eight people are injured in the unrest that seems to continue in Srinagar and elsewhere in the Kashmir Valley.
The UN Security Council is holding a meeting on Kashmir
Pakistan and China take the initiative of the UN Security Council meeting behind closed doors on the situation in Kashmir. It is the first time since 1971 that the Council holds a meeting on the situation in Jammu and Kashmir. India protests and says this is an internal matter.
Protest actions in the Kashmir Valley
Hundreds of protesters in Srinagar in Jammu and Kashmir clash with riot police. The protesters throw stones at the police, who respond with, among other things, tear gas. Protests are also erupting elsewhere in the Kashmir Valley. Authorities have been blocking cellular networks, the internet and other communications in the area since self-government was revoked on August 5. Some reporting still seeps out.
Sharp reactions from Pakistan and China
Pakistan is reacting strongly to the Modi government’s decision to revoke Jammu and Kashmir’s autonomy, calling it “illegal”. The country’s Prime Minister Imran Khan says Pakistan will oppose the decision in the UN Security Council, among others. He accuses Modi of violating international law and of pursuing an Islamophobic policy. China criticizes India for forming a Union territory in Buddhist Ladakh, which Beijing believes belongs to China. Beijing says that through this, India “continues to undermine China’s sovereignty” in the area. However, the BJP government in New Delhi describes the decision as a correction of a historical mistake. The Congress party calls it a “disastrous step”, while a former chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir says this makes India an occupying power.
Kashmir’s autonomy is revoked
The New Delhi government repeals via a decreefrom the President’s Article 370 of the Constitution of India, which gives the state of Jammu and Kashmir so-called “special privileges”. This means that the disputed area loses its right to its own constitution, its own flag and to its self-government. A bill is proposed by the government in which the area is divided into two union territories: the Buddhist Ladakh and the Muslim / Hindu Jammu and Kashmir. Prior to the announcement of the decision, a couple of local politicians are placed under house arrest, a troop reinforcement of about 35,000 people is implemented, schools and shops are closed, and tourists are asked to leave the area. Public meetings are banned and the internet and mobile networks are blocked. This makes it difficult to get information about what is happening in the area. Occasional information on sporadic violence in Srinagar seeps out.
The ban on “triple talaq” divorces becomes law
Parliament makes the Modi government’s ban (see September 2018) on so-called “triple talaq” divorces into law and makes them punishable by up to three years in prison. Triple talaq means that a Muslim man can end his marriage simply by saying “talaq” three times (“you are divorced” in Arabic). Muslim women have testified about being abandoned through messages on social media or the internet. In August 2017, the Supreme Court ruled that “triple talaq” divorces violate the Constitution and in December the BJP-dominated lower house voted for a ban. But the bill then stuck in the upper house, prompting the government to issue the decree, which now becomes permanent law when the President of India signs it.
More wild tigers
India’s endangered tigers are on strong growth following a long decline. In an inventory, the number of wild tigers was estimated at 2,967, which is around 30 percent more than in 2014 when 2,226 tigers were registered. Seven out of ten tigers in the world now live in India, which invents its tiger stock every five years. Professional poaching (mainly for the Chinese market) and increasing pressure on forests where the tigers live from a growing population still make the future uncertain for the tigers.
Great investment in renewable energy
The Indian Ministry of Finance announces that $ 330 billion will be invested in renewable energy by 2030, when 40 percent of the electricity consumed in the country will be extracted from renewable energy sources. Today, 70 percent of electricity is generated in coal-fired power plants.
Rahul Gandhi resigns as party leader
Rahul Gandhi resigns as chairman of the opposition Congress party. In a speech, he assumes responsibility for the election loss in May 2019. He was elected party leader in December 2017 with the task of renewing the Congress party, which in 2014 had suffered a difficult electoral defeat. New temporary party chairman becomes Sonia Gandhi.
The ties to the Maldives are strengthened
Prime Minister Modi begins his second term with a visit to the Maldives, where India and China compete for influence (see Foreign Policy and Defense). During the visit, Modi inaugurates a coastal radar system and a military training center, both Indian-financed. The Maldivian island world spreads over one of the world’s busiest waters and is therefore strategically important for the two great powers. The Solih government is India-friendly while the presidents Yamin and Rajapaksa worked closely with China. President Solih and Modi promise to work together in the fight against piracy, terrorism, organized crime and smuggling through increased patrols of the waters, air surveillance and information exchange. Earlier in 2019, India pledged $ 800 million in credit to the Maldives, which is heavily indebted by Chinese loans.
Few women and low-throwers in Modi 2.0
Prime Minister Modi presents his new government, which in Indian media goes by the name of Modi 2.0. It consists of 58 ministers, of which 25 are members of the so-called Cabinet that brings together the central ministers. BJP veteran Amit Shah, who has been by Modi’s side throughout his career, becomes Minister of the Interior. As Foreign Minister, Modi Subrahmanyam elects Jaishankar, diplomat and former ambassador to both the United States and China. Rajnath Singh is appointed Minister of Defense. The important post of finance minister goes to Nirmala Sitharaman, who was previously Minister of Defense. She is one of only six women among the 58 ministers, despite the fact that more women than ever have been elected to the lower house (77). Of the six female ministers, three belong to the Cabinet. Sitharaman becomes the second woman in India at the post of finance minister, after Indira Gandhi. The vast majority of ministers belong to high castes. Of the 131 members from low castes who are quoted in the lower house, ten receive ministerial positions. The overweight of ministers from northern India (Hindi belt) is large. In the cabinet are three ministers from the south. A minister is a Muslim. He is a member of the upper house of the BJP and is given responsibility for minority issues. In the lower house, 26 out of 543 members are Muslims.
Valtriumf for Modi and BJP
The official result of the election to the lower house’s 543 seats is published by the election authority. The BJP has won an unexpectedly large share of votes: 303 seats. This is an increase of 21 seats compared to the 2014 elections. It is the first time in almost 50 years that a prime minister will be re-elected with an increased number of seats. The big electoral victory is a triumph for Prime Minister Modi, since the election of many judges was regarded as a kind of referendum on his efforts during the first term of office. The Congress party makes another bad choice and gets 52 seats, which is only slightly better than the 2014 disaster election when the party got 44 seats. The result is yet another major defeat for Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, who also lost his place in the Amethi constituency that belonged to the Gandhi family for generations. He is knocked out by a former TV star who is running for BJP. Three regional parties receive over 20 seats: All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (23 seats; Tamil Nadu and Pondicherry), All India Trinamool Congress (22; West Bengal) and Yuvajana Sramika Rythu Congress Party (22; Andhra Pradesh). BJP’s alliance party Shiv Sena gets 18 seats and regional Janata Dal (United) (Bihar and Jharkand) gets 16 seats. The elections are held in seven rounds: April 11, April 18, April 23 and April 29, and May 6, May 12 and May 19. Shiv Sena’s alliance party gets 18 seats and regional Janata Dal (United) (Bihar and Jharkand) gets 16 seats. The elections are held in seven rounds: April 11, April 18, April 23 and April 29, and May 6, May 12 and May 19. Shiv Sena’s alliance party gets 18 seats and regional Janata Dal (United) (Bihar and Jharkand) gets 16 seats. The elections are held in seven rounds: April 11, April 18, April 23 and April 29, and May 6, May 12 and May 19.
The last phase of the election is held
The seventh and final round of the general elections is carried out. During the prolonged elections, unrest and violence erupt in several places. In Jammu and Kashmir, several protesters are injured in clashes with police. In West Bengal, street fighting occurs between BJP supporters and oppositionists. In Orissa, Chhattisgarh and Maharashtra, Maoist Naxalites try to sabotage the election process; In Maharashtra, 15 soldiers and their drivers are killed by the Maoists. Modi and Gandhi are throwing glib words at each other on a daily basis.
IS proclaims “province” of Kashmir
Islamic State (IS) announces through its Amaq news agency that the organization has founded its first “province” in India. The province is called “Wilayah of Hind” and is located in Jammu and Kashmir. The government in New Delhi denies that IS has established itself in the country.
Indian elections are running
The more than a month-long election begins, after an electoral movement in which the main opponents BJP and the Congress Party worked to attract the large electoral group in the countryside. As in previous elections, India’s more than 260 million farmers have been promised cash grants and investments in rural development. In its election manifesto, the BJP promises to spend $ 1,440 billion on infrastructure, of which 359 billion will go to the countryside. The Government Party also promises an annual contribution of $ 86 to all farmers. The BJP is trying to retain the Hindu nationalist electorate with promises to build a temple to the god Rama “as soon as possible” and introduce a law that guarantees Hindus in neighboring Indian citizenship. Among other things, the Congress Party promises $ 1,045 in grants to each of the country’s 250 million poorest families.
Pakistan finds no links with the Kashmir council
Pakistan has not been able to demonstrate any links between the suspected opponents that police and military have seized at the request of India and the suicide attack in Indian-controlled Kashmir (see February 2019). Pakistani authorities have arrested 54 people since India handed over a list of 90 suspected assailants and 22 locations in Pakistan where New Delhi believes terrorists have set up training camps. The mass arrests in Pakistan were under pressure since the US to increase Islamabad’s counter-terrorism efforts. Pakistani Foreign Ministry says that there are also no terrorist training camps in the 22 places in Pakistan that India claims. The Islamabad government says Indian investigators are welcome to visit the sites if New Delhi so requests.
The Congress party promises every third woman in parliament
the 13th of March
At an election meeting in Madras (Chennai), Congress Party President and Electoral Engineer Rahul Gandhi promises that one-third of the government’s office and every third place in Parliament will be reserved for women if the Congress Party wins the election in April / May. In the 2014 election, 61 women were elected to the lower house (lok sabha) which has 543 members.
Parliamentary elections in April and May
Elections to Parliament’s lower house (lok sabha) are to be held between April 11 and May 19, the Election Authority announces. The election results will be announced on May 23. Around 900 million eligible voters will elect 543 members to the Legislative Assembly.
India is losing trade benefits in the US
4th of March
The US is launching a process to abolish India’s (and Turkey’s) Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) in the US market. The reason is that India has introduced a number of trade barriers that have had negative effects for the US. India’s Commerce Minister says the decision will have no significant effect on India’s exports to the United States, as GSP is only worth $ 5.6 billion and India exports for a total of about $ 80 billion to the United States. It takes 60 days to execute the pledge to abolish GSP for India.
Mutual violations of the airspace over Kashmir
According to the Indian news agency PTI, Pakistani fighter aircraft breach Indian airspace by flying over Jammu and Kashmir, but they are chased out by Indian flights. No people should have been injured according to Indian sources, despite the fact that Pakistani aircraft have dropped bombs on the way back. A little later, the Pakistani military announces that two Indian fighter aircraft have been shot down and that a pilot has been captured. One plane must have crashed in Pakistan-controlled Kashmir, the other on the Indian side of the control line. A few days later, Pakistan releases the captured Indian pilot as a “peace gesture”.
Indian flight attack on Pakistani ground
Indian warplanes bomb one of Jaish-e-Mohammad’s fortifications in Balakot inside Pakistan. According to an Indian minister, many of the group’s rebels are killed in the attack, which is carried out after India was notified that Jaish-e-Mohammad was preparing a new attack on India. However, Pakistan says that the attack was met by Pakistani flight and that no man was killed. On the same day, Indian flights shoot down an unmanned drone in the Kutch desert district of Gujarat near the Pakistan border, according to Indian police. In addition, Pakistani representatives say that Indian grenade fire across Kashmir’s control line kills two civilian Pakistani women, two children and injures ten other civilians in two different incidents. The United States, the EU and China call on both India and Pakistan to show restraint in the tense situation that occurred after the suicide bombing in Indian Kashmir on February 14.
HD intervenes in revenge attacks against Kashmiris
The Supreme Court ruled that Kashmiris attacked by the Kashmir terrorist act on February 14 should receive stronger protection. Quantities of Kashmiris who are in other places in India have been subjected to violence and persecution after the act. Over 700 Kashmiri students, workers and merchants have been forced to return home to escape revenge attacks. Calls for revenge campaigns against Kashmiris are spread via social media and some TV channels. On social media, movie clips show how Kashmiris are attacked. Some Kashmiris have been forced to leave their places of study at Indian universities because of comments they have made in social media. Some have also been arrested on suspicion of kidnapping.
One million tribal families will be rejected
The Supreme Court decides that over a million families of tribal people should be rejected from the forest land on which they live. The verdict is a consequence of a name collection filed with the court in 2009, in which tribal people are accused of illegally infringing on protected forest land and wildlife through burning. Amnesty International and other human rights groups criticize the verdict as a blow to India’s vulnerable indigenous peoples. Indian law allows tribal people to live on forest land if they have used it for at least three generations before 2005.
Three men behind Kashmir council dead
An army spokesman announces that the three Jaish-e-Mohammad members who were killed the day before participated in the suicide bombing. Two of them were Pakistanis, one of whom was one of the group’s highest commanders. According to the army spokesman, the attack was planned and organized in Pakistan, especially by the ISI military intelligence service.
Fire fighting outside Srinagar
A multi-hour firefight erupts between government soldiers and Jaish-e-Mohammad in the same area (Pulwama district) outside Srinagar, where the terrorist-labeled group carried out a suicide attack on a military column a few days earlier. Nine people are killed: four soldiers, one police officer, three Jaish-e-Mohammad rebels and one civilian. Around India, demonstrations are held in anger over the terrorist act in Kashmir that claimed the lives of over 40 soldiers.
Suicide bombing in Kashmir
One of the worst attacks against the Indian military in Kashmir since the 1980s is when some 40 government soldiers are killed by a suicide bomber driving a vehicle with explosives into a military column of 2,500 soldiers a few miles outside Srinagar. When Jaish-e-Mohammad takes on the deed, India places responsibility on Pakistan, where the terrorist-stamped group is considered to have its stronghold. The Indian government says it will take “all possible diplomatic steps” to “completely isolate” the neighboring country internationally. At the same time, India is abolishing the special trade privileges that Pakistan has enjoyed since 1996 and introduces 200 percent customs duties on Pakistani goods. Five separatist leaders in Kashmir, including the leader of the Hurriyat Conference (Conflicts, Kashmir) have their police protection revoked.
The government reverses a new citizenship law
The Modi government is withdrawing a proposal for a legislative amendment aimed at encouraging religious minorities from Muslim neighboring countries to seek Indian citizenship, provided they have lived in India for six years. The bill raised strong protests from immigration-critical groups in north-eastern India as well as from other community groups who considered the change to be discriminatory against Muslims. The BJP government had hoped that the change in law would be welcomed by the BJP’s Hindu core voters.
Priyanka Gandhi holds a well-attended election meeting
Priyanka Gandhi makes her first public appearance since being elected Party Secretary to the Congress Party in an area of Uttar Pradesh. She is accompanied by her brother, Rahul Gandhi, chairman of the Congress Party. Priyanka plans to make a tour of the country.
Politicians are murdered in West Bengal
A member of the ruling party TMC (Trinamool Congress) in the West Bengal state parliament is shot dead in the Nadia district by unknown perpetrators during a Hindu ceremony. TMC accuses the party’s arch rival BJP of being behind the murder, but the BJP claims that the murder was carried out by members of TMC, who are plagued by internal power struggles. The murder triggers violent demonstrations in Nadia, located 12 miles outside Calcutta (Kolkata).
Chinese protest against Modi’s visit to disputed territory
China is protesting that Prime Minister Modi is visiting Arunachal Pradesh to inaugurate two airport buildings there. India and China have an unresolved conflict over the right to the area and the two countries fought in 1962 a brief war on Arunachal Pradesh.
Modi is met by protests in the Northeast
Prime Minister Modi makes a tour of the northeastern states of Assam, Arunachal Pradesh and Tripura and is met by a number of demonstrations. Dolls by Modi are burned, waving black flags (a grave insult) and some students are arrested after demonstrating naked. The protests concern the proposed legislative amendment proposed by the BJP government in New Delhi, which would give Indian citizenship to many people who, in recent decades, have moved to northeastern India from neighboring countries such as Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan (see January 2019). The protesters oppose this bill amendment.
Record high unemployment
A state report shows that the unemployment rate is 6.1 percent, the highest rate since comparative statistics began to be conducted in 1972. In 2011/2012, the proportion of unemployed Indians was 2.2 percent. Among young people in the cities (aged 15 to 29), the proportion without jobs is 27.2 percent for women and 18.7 percent for men. The report is bad news for the BJP government, which during the 2014 election campaign promised a million new jobs every month. The government is accused by report writers of trying to stop the publication of the report, which comes a few months before the April / May general elections.
The BJP government is investing in the farmers
The BJP government presents its final budget before the general elections are to be held in April / May. In the draft budget, the government wants to set up a new authority for the welfare of the cows. They are also investing in a support package of just over ten billion dollars to the country’s tens of millions of crisis-stricken poor farmers, who will receive direct annual cash grants of the equivalent of $ 85. The government also wants to introduce a pension system for people working in the informal sector of the economy. A tax credit is given to employees with an annual income of no more than $ 7,000.
The Congress Party promises a guarantee of income for the poor
The Congress Party promises to introduce a guarantee of a minimum income level for the country’s poor if the party wins the election in May. The play comes a few days before the BJP government puts its final budget before the elections.
Priyanka Gandhi gets into politics
Priyanka Gandhi, sister of Congress Party leader Rahul Gandhi, is appointed party secretary of the Congress Party in eastern Uttar Pradesh. Priyanka Gandhi is considered more charismatic than her brother and she has broad support within the party. However, Priyanka Gandhi has so far not wanted to have a formal role in the Congress Party.
Disputed citizenship law
The Lower House (Lok Sabha) adopts a bill that gives people who have moved from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan to India the right to Indian citizenship if they have lived in the country for at least six years. The law is criticized for excluding many Muslims from the right to citizenship. The vote in the lower house leads to protests in Assam, where many Muslims from Bangladesh live (see July 2018). The law must be passed by the upper house before it comes into force. The BJP is accused by the opposition of using the law as election pork to its Hindu voters.
Chaos when women visit Hindu temples
Extensive unrest is spreading during the first days of the month in the state of Kerala. The reason is that two women in their 40s manage to enter the Hindu temple of Sabarimala, one of the holiest sites of Hinduism. A few days later, a third woman enters the temple. In Sabarimala, a ban on visits to women of menstrual age (10-50 years) has long been applicable, but in September 2018, the ban was lifted by the country’s highest court, which ruled that the ban was gender discrimination. Since then, activists for women’s rights, including supporters of the Left Alliance ruling in the state, have tried to enter the temple. The temple complex is guarded by conservative Hindus, including many women. India’s ruling Hindu nationalist party BJP has expressed disapproval of the HD ruling which it considers violates Hindu values. In the vast majority of Hindu temples, women are allowed to participate in religious ceremonies, provided that they do not currently have a period. Menstruating women consider unclean within Hinduism. Violence between supporters of activists and conservative Hindus has spread across Kerala and riot police have tried to disperse the crowds with tear gas and water cannons. At least one person has been killed and about 20 injured. About 1,300 people have been arrested. The day after the women’s temple visit, a human chain is formed, called the Women’s Wall, which runs throughout the state. Activities such as schools and shops are closed.