Covid crisis, attacks on civilians in J&K, ambush on forces in NE, Chhattisgarh kept MHA busy

Covid crisis, attacks on civilians in J&K, ambush on forces in NE, Chhattisgarh kept MHA busy
Cops inspecting the site where a civilian was shot dead by suspected militants in Eidgah area of Srinagar on the evening of Wednesday December, 22, 2021. [Image for representational purpose only]File: Mubashir Khan for Greater Kashmir

New Delhi: Battling the COVID-19 crisis, handling the situation arising after attacks on civilians in Jammu and Kashmir, ambush on security forces in Chhattisgarh and Manipur and a host of other issues kept the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) busy in 2021.

Bringing in high-capacity cryogenic tankers from abroad to deal with oxygen shortage during the brutal second wave of the pandemic, tussle with the West Bengal government over political violence in the state and actively supporting the states which bore the brunt of natural disasters are some of the other key issues that the home ministry handled during the year.

Like the previous year, in 2021 too, the MHA was the nodal authority in regulating the COVID-19 curtailment measures -- imposing restrictions where required and relaxing them when the situation improved.

Every month, throughout the year, the Union Home Secretary issued pandemic guidelines to the states and Union Territories -- on what to do and what not to depending on the COVID-19 situation.

Union Home Minister Amit Shah was instrumental in importing high capacity cryogenic tankers from countries like Singapore and UAE for transportation of oxygen from one part of India to the other when the country was fighting the second wave and oxygen shortage.

Shah was also involved in assisting the states in whatever way possible to handle the situation, including asking them to revive defunct oxygen plant for augmenting production of the essential public health commodity. The MHA was on tenterhooks when the terrorists carried out multiple attacks on civilians and policemen in Jammu and Kashmir since October.

Jammu and Kashmir, which has been on the edge since August 2019 when Article 370 was abrogated and the erstwhile state was bifurcated into two Union Territories, also saw a visit by Shah in October, amid the civilian killings.

Killings of 22 security personnel in Chhattisgarh in April by Naxals and a Colonel, his wife, son and four security personnel in Manipur on November 14 by the Naga insurgents also reminded everyone that the violence perpetrated by the extremists continued unabated in some parts of the country.

A bitter feud began in May between the Mamata Banerjee-led West Bengal government and the Centre when the MHA had summoned the state's the then chief secretary Alapan Bandyopdhayay to serve in the central government after he remained absent at a review meeting on cyclone 'Yaas' chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 28 May.

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