One cannot deny that 2016 was a year of shocks and surprises. The year 2016 witnessed the better and bitter India, with success at Rio Olympics 2016 and terror attack at the Pathankot Air base followed by the unexpected demonetisation move by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi. While it is the time to look forward and see what the New Year has in store for us, it is also the time to look back and see what the nation went through in the last 365 days.
When we look back now, we realise that the year 2016 was more of a mixed bag of highs and lows, good and bad, in all it was one eventful year. To summarize, one can say that India reached sporting height in the year that will soon fade into history.
Pathankot Terror attack
Pathankot terror attack committed during the start of the New Year 2016. Heavily armed group attacked the Pathankot Air Force Station which is part of the Western Air Command of the Indian Air Force. Subsequently for attackers and two security personnel were killed in the initial attack. The gun battle and the subsequent combing operation lasted about 17 hours.
The Indian intelligence agencies identified, Maulana Masood Azhar, chief of Jaish-e-Mohammad and his brother Abdul Rauf Asghar (Mastermind of IC-814 hijack case), as the ‘handlers’ behind the attack. Recently, NIA filled a charge sheet in the NIA special court against Masood Azhar and four others.
The killing of Hizbul Mujahideen militant Burhan Wani in July pushed the valley into an abyss leading to a series of clashes in which dozens of Kashmiri protesters lost their lives and thousands got injured. Meanwhile, the security forces also suffered heavy injuries inflicted by stone palters. Kashmir Unrest, this year stretched for the longest time period with the curfew bringing the Valley to a standstill. Schools and public offices were remained closed and the basic supplies were hit.
With the Kashmir Unrest at its peak, the relation between India and Pakistan hit a new low as a series of terror attack (Uri Attack) targeted Indian security forces by the militants coming from Pakistan. The attack was reported as the ‘deadliest attack’ on security forces in Kashmir in two decades. In a crushing step, The Indian Army conducted a surgical strike along the Line of Control on 29 September destroying the terrorist’s launch pads within Pakistan territory.
Udta Punjab vs CBFC
The Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) and Bollywood were in loggerheads over the Udta Punjab controversy. The board suggested over 89 cuts in the movie, impeding the movie’s release for months. The entire Bollywood rallied behind the producers of Udta Punjab when Censor Board chief Pahlaj Nihalani declined to issued a certificate to the film. After the much drama, the CBFC certified the film. However, before its official release the copy which was submitted before the board got leaked online.
Indian Women shine at Rio de Janerio
This was important especially for India, with women athletes P V Sindhu, Sakshi Malik and Dipa Karmakar making the country proud as the first two won Olympic silver and bronze respectively. Gymnast Deepa Karmakar missed a medal but gave an exceptional performance in her vault finals.
The Indian Olympics Association gathered a team of 117 athletes. It was nation’s largest ever delegation sent to the Olympics, with the historic comeback of the women’s field hockey squad after 36 years. India also marked its Olympic debut in Gold and women’s artistic gymnastics.
It was a rollercoaster ride for Indian athletes. India left Rio de Janerio with just two medals, saving the pride from the humiliation of returning home empty hands. These two medals were awarded to the female athletes for the first time in a history, silver to badminton player P. V. Sindhu and a bronze to freestyle wrestler Sakshi Malik.
Triple Talaq row
The issue erupted when the All India Muslim Women Personal Law Board (AIMWPLB) announced its decision to file a petition in the Apex court asking for a ban on Triple Talaq and talaq given over email, SMS or by post to be declared invalid. Subsequently, AIMWPLB decided to form a women’s wing to discuss the issues of talaq’s among several others. AIMWPLB passed a resolution in favour of triple talaq. However, the Allahabad High Court had earlier this month observed that the practice triple talaq among the Muslims is unconstitutional. The court also added that it violated the rights of women. The high court said no personal law board is above the Constitution.
Samajwadi Party’s internal rift
An Internal crisis broke out within the Samajwadi Party, threatening its prospects in the assembly polls in 2017. Shivpal Yadav’s promotion as state party chief, replacing Akhilesh Yadav, had triggered the crisis within the party. The crisis further deepened when Shivpal quit the party post after Ram Gopal Yadav, party’s general secretary and Mulayam Singh’s cousin, described the decision of Akhilesh Yadav’s removal as a ‘mistake’. There were many times Akhilesh; Mulayam Singh had given an explanation that there is no differences within the family, there were more trouble was brewing for the family.
Launch of Reliance Jio
Reliance ushers in telecom revolution with Reliance Jio Infocomm. Reliance Jio promises an all–new 4G LTE network on which all local voice calls will be free forever, data will be anywhere up to 40 percent cheaper than incumbent telcos and a host of other services can be used at the world’s cheapest tariffs.
Perhaps the biggest shock that struck Indian people and impacted the entire population of the country was the sudden announcement of demonetisatising Rs 500 and Rs 1000 noted by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The date (8 November 2016) marked as one of the biggest financial policy moves for India. The news went viral immediately and reactions poured in online. As per reports, social media reported 650,000 tweets in 24 hours post the announcement. According to the government, the move was aimed to counter the problem of black money hoarded in the form of cash and counterfeit currency used to fund terror group.
However, in the days following the demonetisation, banks and ATMs across the country face severe cash shortage. The long queues outside banks and ATMs to exchange and withdraw notes showed that the fight against black money was not going to be easy for the common man. Opposition come together and launched protest against the Modi government criticising its lack of preparation and poor implementation of the scheme.
‘Amma’ laid to rest
The year 2016 brought a wave of grief for the people of Tamil Nadu who lost their popular leader J Jayalalithaa, who had only seven months ago led her party to a comprehensive successive second victory in the Assembly polls.
Tamil Nadu was on the edge and understandably so, given that Jayalalithaa has been in the thick of things for the past four years. Despite numerous controversies surrounding her political career, Jayalalithaa has long enjoyed a cult-like following in the state, largely due to her populist and pro-poor schemes. This was also evident when she was admitted to the Apollo Hospitals with several people being arrested on charges of spreading rumours about her health. J Jayalalithaa’s demise marked the end of an era in the state’s cinema dominated politics and claimed one of the most charismatic leaders. In a remarkable coincidence, Cho Ramaswamy who had starred in many movies with Jayalalithaa, died next day in Chennai- also in the same Apollo Hospitals.
IND vs ENG
India amassed its highest-ever Test innings total against England at 759/7 declared. Their previous highest total was 726/9 declared, which they made against Sri Lanka at Mumbai in 2009. Overall, this was the seventh highest innings total ever in Tests.