NOTE: ON SUNDAYS EDITORIAL IS NOT PUBLISHED BY INDIAN EXPRESS
ISSUE: UDHAM SINGH
WHY IN NEWS?
BJP MP Pragya Singh Thakur raked up a storm in the Lok Sabha after she praised Mahatma Gandhi’s assassin Nathuram Godse on Wednesday. Now, in her defence, Thakur claimed her remark was meant for Udham Singh, and not Godse.
WHO WAS UDHAM SINGH?
Singh, born in Sunam in Punjab’s Sangrur district in 1899, was a political activist who got associated with the Ghadar Party while in the US.
The multi-ethnic party was believed to have communist tendencies and was founded by Sohan Singh Bhakna in 1913.
Headquartered in California, the party was committed to the ouster of the British from India.
In 1934,Singh made his way to London with the purpose of assassinating O’Dwyer, who in 1919 had been the Lieutenant Governor of Punjab and unsurprisingly, Singh considered O’Dwyer to be responsible for the massacre.
Instead of Dyer, who instructed his men to open fire at the crowd gathered in Jallianwala Bagh, O’Dwyer is considered to be the actual perpetrator, since Dyer could not have executed it without his permission
On March 13, 1940 Singh shot O’Dwyer at a meeting of the East India Association and the Royal Central Asian Society at Caxton Hill.
At the prison, Singh staged a 36-day hunger strike and in police statements and at the court referred to himself as Mohamed Singh Azad, to symbolise Hindu-Sikh-Muslim unity in the fight for India’s freedom.
He was sentenced to death and was hanged on July 31, 1940 at Pentonville Prison. In 1974, his remains were sent back to India and he was cremated in his village in Sunam.
ISSUE: CHAGOS ISLAND DISPUTE
WHY IN NEWS?
Mauritius called the UK an “illegal colonial occupier” on Friday, after it ignored a UN mandated deadline to return the Chagos Islands, a small archipelago in the Indian Ocean, to Mauritius. The United Nations had given UK six months to process the transfer, a move the UK and the US have bitterly resisted
WHAT IS THE CHAGOS ISLAND DISPUTE ABOUT?
Mauritius has argued that the Chagos Islands has been a part of its territory since at least the 18th century, till the United Kingdom broke the archipelago away from Mauritius in 1965 and the islands of Aldabra, Farquhar, and Desroches from the Seychelles in the region to form the British Indian Ocean Territory.
The UK declared these islands as an overseas territory in November 1965.
After Mauritius gained independence from the UK in 1968, the United Kingdom refused to return the Chagos Islands to Mauritius claiming in petitions submitted to the Permanent Court of Arbitration that the island was required to “accommodate the United States’ desire to use certain islands in the Indian Ocean for defence purposes”.
The largest island on the Chagos Islands archipelago, Diego Garcia, is where the US and the UK operate a large military base and was also used as a US military base for the US-led attacks against Afghanistan and Iraq in the 2000s.
After independence, Mauritius had proposed an exchange allowing the UK to let the US use the Chagos Islands for defence purposes till those needs ceased, in exchange for increasing the quota of sugar imports into the US, a move that would contribute to Mauritius’ economy. The UK rejected the proposal stating that the US could not be involved in any treaty despite using the islands themselves.
WHAT HAPPENED AT PERMANENT COURT OF ARBITRATION?
The Permanent Court of Arbitration ruled in 2015 that the “United Kingdom failed to give due regard to Mauritius’ rights” and declared that “the United Kingdom had breached its obligations under the (United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea).”
In February 2019, the UN’s highest court of justice, the International Court of Justice (ICJ), ordered the UK to return the Chagos Islands to Mauritius “as rapidly as possible”.
The UN had given the UK six months to return the Chagos Islands to Mauritius. After the UK missed the deadline to do so, Mauritius called the UK an “illegal colonial occupier”. The African Union also issued its own rebuke against the UK and demanded that the nation put an end to its “continued colonial administration”
The UK is slowly finding itself more diplomatically isolated after its failures at the UN General Assembly concerning Chagos Islands. The shambles that is Brexit has also alienated the UK to a certain degree in terms of its relations with other EU members. For now, the UK might possibly be searching for reassurance in the fact that the ICJ ruling is not binding and no immediate sanctions or adverse actions will be taken against it
WHY IN NEWS?
Refinery which is set to be jointly built by Saudi Aramco and Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC), reportedly faces an estimated cost escalation to $70 billion from the previous $44 billion
This has emerged from a Reuters news report that, in turn, cites a report by WAM, UAE’s state-run news agency, that a joint economic council of UAE and Saudi officials reviewed their plans for the project on the sidelines of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s UAE visit.
WHY COST ESCALATION?
Originally, the refinery was supposed to be built in a village in Maharashtra’s Ratnagiri district but the location was later changed to a site in Raigad district, about 100 km from Mumbai.
Repeated delays in land acquisition have led to the expected year of completion being postponed to 2025.