As India suffers from COVID fatigue following the nation’s nine-month-long battle with the novel coronavirus, it is important that one understands that an effective antidote to the disease is yet to be made available. While some countries have manufactured effective vaccines, that have yielded positive results, the general populace is yet to be vaccinated.

While COVID-19 has dominated headlines across India since the first coronavirus case was registered in Kerala, other key events with seismic impact on human lives have rattled the country while it fought tooth and nail against the coronavirus. 

CAA-NRC-NPR protests

Even before the advent of the coronavirus pandemic, the country was reeling under the pressure of myriad issues as lakhs protested the implementation of the Citizenship Amendment Act that was ushered in by the in-power Bharatiya Janata Party government.

The issue of CAA-NRC-NPR preceded the pandemic and has affected human lives across the country. 

Passed in December 2019, the act provided a pathway to Indian citizenship for illegal immigrants from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan who are Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians and arrived in India ahead of December 2014. The law , however, avoided any mention of Muslims, which opponents of the bill alleged as discrimination against a particular religion, the act was also the first time when the Democratic Secular Republic of India overtly used religion as a criterion for citizenship. 

However, supporters of the bill were quick to highlight that only illegal immigrants, or as Union Home Minister Amit Shah stated ‘ghuspetais’ had to be worried about newly sanctioned legislation.

The chronology of the implementation of the law was highlighted by Union Home Minister Amit Shah, who stated, “Understand the chronology, first we will bring Citizenship Amendment Bill (CAB) and after that we will bring National Register of Citizens (NRC) and NRC will not only be for Bengal but for the entire country.”

Interpreting the CAA in collaboration with the National Register of Citizens (NRC), the latter identifies and documents all legal citizens of India and identifies all illegal immigrants to weed them out or deport them. 

Protests against the amended law erupted across the country with women at Shaheen Bagh spearheading a sit-in peaceful protest. The Shaheen Bagh protests in Delhi also inspired similar protests across the country, such as in Gaya, Kolkata, Allahabad, Mumbai, Chennai and Bengaluru.

First COVID-19 cases in India; Lockdown 1, 2 and 3

India recorded its first case of COVID-19 on 30 January 2020. With the BJP administration at the helm in the centre, the country observed a 14-hour voluntary public curfew and PM Narendra Modi ordered a nation-wide lockdown for 21 days on March 24. The lockdown was further extended on April 14, with further two-week extensions on May 3 and May 17.

From June 1, the government started unlocking the country in three unlock phases.

As on December 6, the country has 9.64 million coronavirus cases and has recorded 140,000 plus COVID-19 related deaths.

However, on a positive note, 9.1 million people have recovered from the disease. The country recorded its first million COVID-19 cases on July 17, 2020. COVID-19 cases in the country breached the five million mark on September 16, while the nine million mark was reached on November 20.

Delhi Riots, 2020

The North East Delhi riots which took place on February 23 caused 53 deaths during the multiple waves of bloodshed, property destruction and riots. Of the 53 dead, 36 were Muslims while 15 Hindus, as per reports from The Wire. The riots originated in Jafrabad, North East Delhi, following hate speech, violence erupted and most deaths were attributed to gunfire.

Former US President Donald Trump visited India

In his first visit to the country, President Donald Trump attended a rally with Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Ahmedabad, Gujarat. The tour was named ‘Namaste Trump,’ and the 45th President of the USA visited the Taj Mahal with his wife and also attended a dinner banquet hosted by President Ramnath Kovind.

India-China border skirmish

In a violent development along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) tensions between neighbours India and China escalated as 20 Indian soldiers died and several casualties on the Chinese side. 

The two neighbours had been engaged in an aggressive standoff at the Sino-Indian border along with disputed areas of Pangong Lake in Ladakh, near the border in Sikkim and Ladakh since May, which continues till date.

Farm Bills 2020 passed

The farm bills, a combination of three agricultural bills, were passed in the Indian parliament in September 2020. The three bills were the Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce(Promotion and Facilitation) Bill, 2020, Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill, 2020 and Essential Commodities (Amendment) Bill 2020. While Prime Minister Narendra Modi referred to the passing of the bill as a watershed moment, detractors of the bill alleged that the bills were corporate-friendly and anti-farmer.

Assembly Polls: Delhi and Bihar

The Arvind Kejriwal led AAP government swept into power in the capital city of Delhi defeating opposition parties BJP and Congress in the Legislative Assembly Elections. The Aam Aadmi Party secured 62 of the 70 with BJP winning the remaining of the 8 seats.

In Bihar Legislative Assembly elections of 2020, the NDA under the leadership of Nitish Kumar managed to retain power in the North Indian state. Staving off stiff opposition from the Tejaswi Yadav-led Mahagathbandhan, the NDA secured a total of 125, just 3 over the 122 seats needed for a majority.

Ram Mandir Bhoomi Pujan

The Ram Mandir Bhoomi Pujan took place on August 5, 2020, for the Ram Temple, at Ram Janmabhoomi site in Ayodhya. Prime Minister Narendra Modi was present at the event, along with Uttar Pradesh CM Yogi Adityanath and UP Governor Anandiben Patel. The Prime Minister performed Bhoomi Pujan rituals at the Ram Janmabhoomi site and also called the moment historic.

Air India Express crash

The Air India Express Flight 1344, an international flight ferrying Indian nationals from Dubai to India, made two unsuccessful landing attempts and on the third attempt skidded off the tabletop runway in Kozhikode, India. The August 7 accident claimed 19 lives, killing both pilots. The four-cabin crew members and 165 passengers survived, 100 were lucky to escape with minimum injuries.

Hathras gang rape

On September 14, 2020, where four upper caste men allegedly raped a 19-year-old Dalit woman in the Hathras District of Uttar Pradesh, India. The victim succumbed to her injuries later in September and the case is currently being probed by the Central Bureau of India.

Economy: GDP contraction

India’s economy contracted by 23.9% in the first quarter (April-June) of this 2020-2021 financial year, after being hit by the coronavirus pandemic and subsequent lockdowns.