UPSC EDITORIAL ANALYSIS 11 JUN 2021
TERROR IN THE SAHEL: ON GROWING ISLAMIST VIOLENCE IN
Topic: General Studies Paper-2 (International Relations)
• The recent attack by in a border village in Burkina Faso is a grim reminder of the threat
the Sahel region faces from Islamist terrorism.
Sahel Terror Attack:
• Though Nobody has claimed the responsibility for attack, According to Burkinabe
authorities, it is the Islamic State in the Greater Sahara (ISGS), which has carried out
hundreds of terror strikes in recent years.
• Burkina Faso, saw its first major Islamist terrorist attack in 2015,and after that the
security situation has deteriorated steadily, especially along the borders with Niger and
• Sahel region is a 5,900-km-long semi-arid territory which is used by terrorist groups to
expand their networks and step up attacks on civilians and soldiers.
• In Nigeria, Islamists control swathes of territories and have carried out abductions and
attacks, which killed 27 people in a village.
• Mali too has been fighting terror groups since 2013.
• Four main terror outfits that operate in the Sahel region are the ISGS, the Islamic State
West Africa Province (ISWAP), the Jama’at Nasr Islam wal Muslimin, the local
al-Qaeda branch in Mali, and Boko Haram.
• Among them, ISGS and Jama’at Nasr are planning to expand their influence in the
Burkina-Mali-Niger border region, where they shoot down anyone who does not declare
their loyalty to the jihadists.
• Boko Haram and the ISWAP are fighting against other and control territories in
• France along with U.S which has a drone base has carried out counter-insurgency
operations in Niger.
• The regime change policies of the U.S. and France are responsible for problems faced by
Sahel countries today.
• When a NATO invasion removed Muammar Gaddafi from power in Libya in 2011, the
region lost a stable bulwark against militias and jihadists and after that Libya have fallen
into anarchy and civil war, becoming a breeding ground for jihadist.
• Even in Mali, France made a military intervention in 2013, but was not successful in
defeating the insurgency, which spread beyond Mali’s borders.
• As a result, Now, jihadists find safe havens in the lawless deserts of the Sahel.
• When the IS-militant infrastructure was destroyed in Iraq and Syria, they captured Africa,
regrouping themselves in the region. Major global powers, which worked together with
regional players to defeat the IS in West Asia, now need to work together to remove the
threat from Africa.
✓ Global powers along with the UN need to help the Sahel countries build capacity and
institutions, offer stable governance and adopt sustainable counter-insurgency strategies,
so that peace is established in Sahel region pf Africa.
EDITORIAL 2: THE PROMISE AND PERILS OF DIGITAL JUSTICE
Topic: General Studies Paper-2 (International Relations)
Indian courts are associated with long delays and difficulties for ordinary litigants instead of speedy justice.
According to E- Committee newsletter, To date, Indian courts have 3.27 crore cases pending, of which 85,000 have been pending for over 30 years.
• Technology can be used to revolutionise Courts, but it should be ensured that it operates within the constitutional framework of the fundamental rights of citizens otherwise it may result in further exclusion, inequity and surveillance.
The e-Courts project:
• Recently, the draft vision document for Phase III of the e-Courts project was released by the Supreme Court.
• Phases I and II consisted of e-filing, tracking cases online, uploading judgments online, etc. • Though Phase I and II have not been completely implemented in lower levels of the
• Despite some hiccups, the Supreme Court and High Courts have been able to function online and was very useful during the time of the pandemic.
• The e-Courts project, monitored by the e-Committee has been successful in the pandemic times to provide justice to the needy.
• Phase III of the e-Courts project, is trying to do too much and may go off the tram line. • Phase III also aims to upgrade the electronic infrastructure of the judiciary and enable
access to lawyers and litigants using an “ecosystem approach” to justice delivery. • In Phase III there is a plan to implement a “seamless exchange of information” between
various branches of the State, such as between the judiciary, the police and the prison systems through the Interoperable Criminal Justice System (ICJS).
• However, According to organisations such as the Criminal Justice and Police Accountability Project, ICJS will exacerbate existing class and caste inequalities that characterise the police and prison system.
• Data creation happens at local police stations, and historically it has contributed to the criminalisation of entire communities through colonial-era laws such as the Criminal Tribes Act of 1871, by labelling such communities as “habitual offenders”.
• The data collected, shared and collated through the e-Courts project will be housed within the Home Ministry under the ICJS.
A cause for concern
• ICJS seamless exchange of information relies on large-scale gathering and sharing of data useful tool for solving complex problems such as addressing the problem of cases pending for service of summons.
• Phase II of the e-Courts project saw the development of the National Service and Tracking of Electronic Processes software that enabled e-service of summons.
• At the same time, large scale data gathering may act as a devil too when data collection is combined with extensive data sharing and data storage.
• While digitalization, The Supreme Court must take care not to violate the privacy standards set up in Puttaswamy v. Union of India (2017), as India does not yet have a data protection regime.
• Data can be useful when it provides anonymous, aggregated, and statistical information about issues without identifying the individuals which could be done in Phase III through uniformity and standardisation of entry fields.
• However, recently there has been a trend of creating a 360-degree profile of each person by integrating all of their interactions with government agencies into a unified database. • The 360-degree profile has been used by social media platforms and technology companies
already and the government is now trying to do the same.
• However, when technology companies do this, we get targeted advertising, but when the government does it, we get targeted surveillance.
• Phase III focuses mainly on a 360-degree approach where once the Government moves online, their pen-and-paper registers will become excel sheets, shareable with a single click. • Localised data will become centralised and easy in problem-solving, However, it is the next
stage that involves integration with other agencies which is a cause for concern.
The case that time forgot :
• However, When integrating data of the courts and police stations, the intersection lies with the individual citizen.
• Courts may benefit from access to police and prison records, as they deal with a variety of matters, some of which may be purely civil, commercial or personal.
• Access to data to the Home Ministry which has no relation to criminal law is useless and this process serves no purpose other than profiling and surveillance.
Role of technology
• Phase III vision of ecosystem approach should be abandoned and the objectives to streamline judicial processes, reduce pendency, and help the litigants should be achieved through localisation of data, instead of centralisation.
✓ The e-Committee must take steps to prevent the “seamless exchange” of data between the branches of the state that ought to remain separate.
✓ Technology plays an important role today, but it cannot be an end in itself, hence complete integration with the 360-degree approach would only take away the Right to privacy of Citizens which is a fundamental right. Hence the Courts should focus on localisation of data instead of centralisation with the Home ministry.