From Delhi riots to Sushant Singh Rajput's suicide and Kozhikode plane crash, India was shaken by a number of incidents in 2020. There were also some events like Donald Trump's visit to India and Bhoomi pujan of Ram temple by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Days before the year draws to a close, CNBC-TV18 look back at some of the key events in politics, Bollywood and aviation that defined 2020 for India:
#1. Kerala reports first confirmed COVID-19 case in India
On January 29, India had reported its first confirmed case of novel coronavirus in Thrissur district of Kerala. The patient was a student studying in Wuhan University, China, and had recently returned to India. Kerala Health Minister KK Shailaja said 20 samples were sent for tests out, of which one was found to be positive for novel coronavirus. She was a 20-year-old student and had been studying in one of the universities in Wuhan for some years now. She returned to Kerala on January 24 after the situation in Wuhan deteriorated. During screening at the airport, she could not identify any symptoms and be allowed to go home. In February, the patient had tested negative for the infection in fresh test at the National Institute of Virology's local centre in Kerala.
#2. Delhi riots
Communal clashes had broken out in northeast Delhi on February 24 after violence between citizenship law supporters and protesters spiralled out of control leaving at least 53 people dead and around 200 injured. The Delhi Police had registered 436 FIRs and arrested or detained 1,427 people in connection with the communal violence. The Delhi Police had named CPI (M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury, Swaraj Abhiyan leader Yogendra Yadav, economist Jayati Ghosh, Delhi University professor and activist Apoorvanand, and documentary filmmaker Rahul Roy as co-conspirators in the February Delhi riots.
#3. Donald Trump's visit to India
US President Donald Trump was on his maiden official visit to India from February 24 to 25. He was accompanied by First Lady Melania and a high-powered delegation comprising senior US administration officials, including National Security Advisor Robert O'Brien. They visited Ahmedabad, Agra and New Delhi. During the visit, India and the US on Tuesday finalised defence deals worth $3 billion under which 30 military helicopters will be procured from two American defence majors for Indian armed forces. The US President participated in a host of engagements over the course of his nearly-36-hour-long trip, including a roadshow, visit to the Taj Mahal, addressing a mammoth crowd at the ''Namaste Trump'' event at Ahmedabad, among others.
#4. Janata curfew
Millions of people across the country stayed indoors, streets wore a deserted look and bare number of vehicles were on the road on March 22 in an unprecedented shutdown on Prime Minister Narendra Modi's appeal for a 'Janata curfew' to check spread of coronavirus. As the 14-hour 'Janata curfew' imposed at 7 am, people kept themselves indoors as part of the social distancing exercise to help stop the spread of the virus. All markets and establishments except those dealing in essential goods and services are closed for the day. The 'Janata curfew' will end at 9 pm. Ahead of the start of the curfew, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said, "In a few minutes from now, the #JantaCurfew commences. Let us all be a part of this curfew, which will add tremendous strength to the fight against COVID-19 menace".
Except for essential services, everything else including bus services, commercial establishments, restaurants, markets and places of worship were shut and people remained home.
#5. Sushant Singh Rajput suicide
Bollywood actor Sushant Singh Rajput, who made his silver screen debut in the critically acclaimed "Kai Po Che" seven years ago, was found dead in his apartment in suburban Bandra in Mumbai on June 14. A statement from Rajput’s publicist said: “It pains us to share that Sushant Singh Rajput is no longer with us. We request his fans to keep him in their thoughts and celebrate his life, and his work like they have done so far. We request media to help us maintain privacy at this moment of grief." Ahead of the Bihar elections, Sushant Singh Rajput suicide issue was raised and demanded that son of the Bihar will get justice. On August 19, the Supreme Court had upheld the transfer of an FIR, lodged by Rajput's father at Patna against the actor's girlfriend Rhea Chakraborty and others for allegedly abetting his suicide, to the CBI. In October, the medical board of the New Delhi-based All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) had ruled out murder in the death of Rajput, terming it "a case of hanging and death by suicide".
#6. China–India skirmish
Twenty Indian Army personnel, including a colonel, were killed in clashes with Chinese troops in the Galwan Valley on June 15, the biggest military confrontation in over five decades that has significantly escalated the already volatile border standoff in the region. China is yet to disclose the number of its soldiers killed and injured in the clash though it officially admitted to have suffered casualties. According to an American intelligence report, the number of casualties on the Chinese side was 35. It is the first incident involving the casualty of an Indian soldier in a violent clash with the Chinese Army after 1975 when four Indian soldiers were killed in an ambush at Tulung La in Arunachal Pradesh.
#7. Govt bans 59 Chinese apps
India on June 29 banned 59 apps with Chinese links, including hugely popular TikTok and UC Browser. The ban, which comes in the backdrop of current stand-off along the Line of Actual control in Ladakh with Chinese troops, is also applicable for WeChat and Bigo Live. The list of apps that have been banned also include Helo, Likee, CamScanner, Vigo Video, Mi Video Call – Xiaomi, Clash of Kings as well as e-commerce platforms Club Factory and Shein.
The Information Technology Ministry in a statement said it has received many complaints from various sources, including several reports about misuse of some mobile apps available on Android and iOS platforms for "stealing and surreptitiously transmitting users' data in an unauthorised manner to servers which have locations outside India".
#8. Bhoomi pujan of Ram temple
Prime Minister Narendra Modi had performed bhoomi pujan of the Supreme Court-mandated Ram temple in Ayodhya, bringing to fruition the BJP's mandir movement that defined its politics for three decades and took it to the heights of power. The guest list included religious leaders, who formed part of the movement that started in the 1980s, was restricted to 175 in view of the COVID-19 crisis. As a priest chanted Sanskrit shlokas and the ground-breaking ceremony got underway under a giant marquee decorated in shades of reds and yellows, PM Modi and other dignitaries, all in masks, maintained social distancing and sat a safe distance away from each other. Slogans of 'Bharat Mataki Jai' and 'Har Har Mahadev' were raised as the ritual ended and the Prime Minister laid the foundation of the temple.
#9. Kozhikode plane crash
The Air India Express flight from Dubai with 190 people, including a six-member crew, overshot the tabletop runway during landing at the Kozhikode airport in heavy rain on August 7, fell into a valley 35 feet below and broke into two, killing 18 people, including the pilots. The accident happened around at around 7:41 pm when the Air India flight from Dubai was making a descent and preparing for landing. After landing at Runway 10, the flight continued running to end of the runway and fell down in the valley and broke into two portions. The Boeing 737 jet, on a Vande Bharat mission as flight AIX 1344 from Dubai, was bringing in Indians who were stranded abroad due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
#10. All 32 accused in Babri demolition case acquitted
Twenty-eight years after the Babri Masjid was razed, a court acquitted all 32 people including BJP veterans L K Advani, M M Joshi and Uma Bharti accused of being involved in the demolition of the mosque they believed occupied the spot where Lord Ram was born. In a judgment that ran to 2,300 pages with enclosures, the special CBI court on September 30 said there was no conclusive evidence against the 32 accused of being involved in any conspiracy to bring down the disputed structure in Ayodhya.
Delivering the verdict on the day of his retirement, special Judge S K Yadav did not accept newspaper reports and video cassettes as evidence. The court also observed that the late Vishwa Hindu Parishad leader Ashok Singhal wanted to save the structure because Ram idols were inside.
First Published: IST