Rolling South Asia News Thread

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Niche interest regional politics threads ftw.

India seems to be sliding further into sectarianism by the week. A string of top scientists and artists have returned state-awarded honours in protest at the growing "culture of intolerance" and failure to stem fanaticism.

Along with the lynching of a Muslim for allegedly eating beef, there have been several cases of 'rationalist' / 'left-wing' historians and academics, like Dr Malleshappa Kalburgi, apparently killed for presenting a version of Indian cultural heritage at odds with right-wing factions.

Critics of the critics have pointed out that quite a few of them were happy to accept honours from Indira Gandhi after Operation Blue Star so are in no position to judge.

RSS, the ruling BJP's sister organisation, has called for a "national population policy" to correct the demographic shift caused by increasing numbers of Christian and Muslim Indians:

Al Qaeda, whatever that means these days, seems to have taken credit for the latest in long line of attacks of secular writers and bloggers in Bangladesh.

There was a bomb attack on Shi'ite worshipers last week:

and "ISIS" appears to be getting in on the action, killing two foreign nationals in targeted gun attacks.

Nepal is in the middle of a constitutional change, which would have some positive aspects, including mandated percentages of female MPs, but has been fiercely opposed by minority groups who feel it marginalises them. A protest blockade, which had meant the country ran out of fuel several times over the last week, has just been removed.

There has been some positive news from Pakistan recently, though, despite the ongoing problems. The economy is growing, perceptions of corruption are lower and there's a general sense of a return to some kind of normalcy, from what i hear.

Al Ain Delon (ShariVari), Monday, 2 November 2015 09:11 (three years ago) Permalink

Strong piece from Pankaj Mishra in the Guardian ahead of Modi's visit to the UK, a country that maintained a full diplomatic boycott of him (including travel ban) between 2002 and 2012.

Feel like “hit the fraudulent literati with boots” is a slogan that could be re-purposed elsewhere to positive effect though.

Al Ain Delon (ShariVari), Monday, 9 November 2015 22:04 (three years ago) Permalink

one month passes...

Salman cleared of all charges!

Pretty outrageous but not wholly surprising.

On a Raqqa tip (ShariVari), Thursday, 10 December 2015 09:07 (three years ago) Permalink

one month passes...

Modi has declassified 100 documents relating to Chandra Bose, some of which apparently lend more credibility to the idea he died in a plane crash.

Any squeamishness about heaping praise on him seems to have evaporated. India's cultural centre in Nepal was recently renamed in his honour, which presumably went down well with the Gurkhas.

On a Raqqa tip (ShariVari), Sunday, 24 January 2016 10:21 (three years ago) Permalink

two weeks pass...

Lots of sedition going around atm:

Indian student leader arrested for sedition after protest over hanging.

“If anyone raises anti-India slogans, tries to raise questions on country’s unity and integrity, they will not be spared,” said Rajnath Singh, a BJP lawmaker who serves as India’s home minister. “Stringent action will be taken against them.”

Editor of Bangladesh's biggest English medium newspaper charged with sedition for criticising the current PM during the 2007-2008 military government.

In a separate case, Bangla's last PM is also being charged with sedition related to comments about the 1971 war deemed unpatriotic. The case has been filed by a government ally rather than the state itself but he intentions are pretty clear.

On a Raqqa tip (ShariVari), Saturday, 13 February 2016 14:04 (three years ago) Permalink

28 dead and hundreds injured in protests / riots related to caste quotas in India:

A proportion of government jobs are allocated to "Backwards Castes" - a designation that currently excludes Jats. The Jats want in, Congress had indicated they would agree but the move has subsequently been blocked on the grounds the community is too privileged to qualify.

On a Raqqa tip (ShariVari), Thursday, 25 February 2016 08:44 (three years ago) Permalink

two weeks pass...

This was interesting:

Someone hacked into the Bangladesh Central Bank and started sending transfer requests to the Federal Reserve Bank in New York, tapping into the country's foreign currency reserves. NY eventually cottoned on, noticing a combination of higher-than-average traffic and elementary spelling mistakes, but not until the hackers had pinched $100m. Had it all gone to plan, they would have received $1bn.

On a Raqqa tip (ShariVari), Tuesday, 15 March 2016 12:29 (three years ago) Permalink

one month passes...

Long, detailed profile of Modi and the allegations against him in The New Republic.

On a Raqqa tip (ShariVari), Wednesday, 4 May 2016 19:02 (three years ago) Permalink

one month passes...

Terrible-sounding hostage situation in Dhaka. Two RAB officers killed and at least 20 people being held hostage, supposedly by a group claiming some kind of affiliation with ISIS. It's in the fancy Gulshan district and a lot of the hostages are thought to be Italian.

ISIS' own claims are that 24 have died already though that is obvs unconfirmed.

On a Raqqa tip (ShariVari), Friday, 1 July 2016 23:02 (two years ago) Permalink

28 dead including 20 hostages. This was right in the middle of the embassy district and a stone's throw from the Australian High Commission i've been to. Looks like it was chosen as a relatively soft target (would probably still have armed guards) in an area guaranteed to have lots of foreigners.

There are lots of western commentators saying 'well, of course - Bangladesh has failed to crack down on militants' but you can't really go more than a day reading the local papers without seeing "RAB kills three resisting arrest" or "two killed as RAB search hideout" tucked away in a small column on page seven. Sheikh Hasina (who incidentally is the aunt of the British Labour MP Tulip Siddiq) has led a deeply authoritarian, militarised campaign against Jamaat-e-Islami, the local equivalent of something like the Muslim Brotherhood which may have inflamed things even more. It looks like some are switching to 'ISIS' instead, which Hasina has always played down.

On a Raqqa tip (ShariVari), Saturday, 2 July 2016 09:38 (two years ago) Permalink

It is looking like a majority of Italians and Japanese amongst the fatalities. I don't know if this is just propaganda: "Bangladesh's Daily Star newspaper said the gunmen tortured anyone who was unable to recite the Koran. They provided meals overnight for only the Bangladeshi captives, it said."

calzino, Saturday, 2 July 2016 10:04 (two years ago) Permalink

obviously this is trivial but i can't imagine any cricket teams visiting bangladesh for the next...indefinite period (see pakistan)

imago, Saturday, 2 July 2016 10:07 (two years ago) Permalink

i say trivial but it must be these goons' partial intention to cut bangladesh off from the world

imago, Saturday, 2 July 2016 10:08 (two years ago) Permalink

England are touring in October. Wouldn't be enormously surprised to see it switched to UAE but the World Cup went ahead without any problems .

On a Raqqa tip (ShariVari), Saturday, 2 July 2016 10:20 (two years ago) Permalink

what is the likely policy response to this do you think

imago, Saturday, 2 July 2016 10:47 (two years ago) Permalink

Probably even more of a crackdown on generic 'Islamists' targeting both Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen who have been responsible for most of the bombings / attacks not attributed to ISIS and Jamaat-e-Islami who form a fair proportion of the political opposition. 3000 people were arrested last month, hundreds of them opposition political activists not linked to militant activity. It'll probably be used as a tool to consolidate power. The interesting thing will be whether Hasina acknowledges that ISIS is proliferating as a brand. She has been extremely reluctant to do so.

On a Raqqa tip (ShariVari), Saturday, 2 July 2016 10:55 (two years ago) Permalink

one month passes...

The Bangladeshi government has rejected ISIS' claim of responsibility for the cafe attack and decided it was the work of Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen and a former army major who has supposedly been trying to organise a coup.

Nine 'suspected militants' were killed by the police in a recent raid.

On a Raqqa tip (ShariVari), Tuesday, 2 August 2016 14:03 (two years ago) Permalink

three weeks pass...

The Canadian 'mastermind' of the cafe attack was killed alongside two other people in a police raid yesterday:

Which is arguably quite handy if you don't want anyone contradicting the government line that it wasn't ISIS.

On a Raqqa tip (ShariVari), Saturday, 27 August 2016 07:29 (two years ago) Permalink

one month passes...

Someone hacked into the Bangladesh Central Bank and started sending transfer requests to the Federal Reserve Bank in New York, tapping into the country's foreign currency reserves. NY eventually cottoned on, noticing a combination of higher-than-average traffic and elementary spelling mistakes, but not until the hackers had pinched $100m. Had it all gone to plan, they would have received $1bn.

The language training institute i went to see today ran a series of ads last week along the lines of "had you learned your English with us, you'd have got the full $1bn!", which went down very badly with the government but was pretty funny.

obviously this is trivial but i can't imagine any cricket teams visiting bangladesh for the next...indefinite period

They're staying at the same hotel as me rn!

The government announced yesterday that they'd killed 33 militants since the cafe attack, which given that they killed 11 this week, seems a pretty conservative estimate. It's BAU at the moment, though. The only change is that if you're standing outside an office block the armed guards will casually wander across to stand in front of you in case you get shot.

Myanmar say nine police officers were killed on the Bangla border this week during clashes with Rohingya rebels:

India / Pakistan is heating up again with Modi more or less putting the country on a war footing over Kashmir. He has ordered arms manufacturers to stand by to ramp up production and has suggested that Indian troops will move into Pakistan if they feel the need to go looking for terrorists there - having bombed Pakistani Kashmir last month.

Bubba H.O.T.A.P.E (ShariVari), Monday, 10 October 2016 15:49 (two years ago) Permalink

four weeks pass...

This is...bold.

Modi announced earlier today that 500 and 1000 Rupee notes are being withdrawn from midnight, will cease to be legal tender for transport or state business from Friday and may not be accepted for bank deposits after December the 31st. There are varying estimates but around half of all daily cash transactions (by value) are in those denominations and over 80% of cash wealth is held in them - which for a lot of families, will be how they keep their savings.

It's a bit like saying all US notes over $10 are being cancelled at the end of the week and anyone with $100 or more in cash will have to swap it for new bills and explain its origins. It could bring a lot of cash into the system or it could go horribly wrong. The big complaint from Indian capitalist reformers has often been that too many people keep their money in cash or gold and banks don't have enough liquidity.

Bubba H.O.T.A.P.E (ShariVari), Tuesday, 8 November 2016 18:55 (two years ago) Permalink

man do all the announcements have pictures of him on them? that's kind of weird.

xiphoid beetlebum (rushomancy), Tuesday, 8 November 2016 21:54 (two years ago) Permalink

eight months pass...

Nawaz Sharif has just been ordered to resign by Pakistan's Supreme Court! He was linked to corruption exposed in the Panama Papers. Unanimous 5-0 verdict.

Wag1 Shree Rajneesh (ShariVari), Friday, 28 July 2017 07:32 (one year ago) Permalink

six months pass...

This seems like it could be huge and a bit surprising to me, coming from Modi/BJP. The fact that they seem to have no detailed plan on how to pay for it is a little worrying.:

No purposes. Sounds. (Sund4r), Saturday, 3 February 2018 22:46 (one year ago) Permalink

two weeks pass...

Nepal's ruling coalition partners CPN-UML and CPN Maoist Centre unify to form Communist Party of Nepal, with Marxism and Leninism as the governing ideology:

No purposes. Sounds. (Sund4r), Friday, 23 February 2018 23:03 (one year ago) Permalink

This seems like good news. Aiui they’ve never really gotten along well and merging the parties is designed to put barriers in the way of one or the other pulling out of the coalition.

The move to bring Maoist parties into the democratic process as been legit impressive and seems to have a much better prospect of long term success than the fairly fragile peace in Colombia.

Wag1 Shree Rajneesh (ShariVari), Saturday, 24 February 2018 02:19 (one year ago) Permalink

That all makes sense. I'm interested to see what this government can achieve.

No purposes. Sounds. (Sund4r), Sunday, 25 February 2018 02:35 (one year ago) Permalink

ten months pass...

Congrats to the Awami League on winning, uh, 96% of the seats in the Bangladeshi election:

ShariVari, Monday, 31 December 2018 17:39 (five months ago) Permalink


Locked in silent monologue, in silent scream (Sund4r), Wednesday, 2 January 2019 01:54 (five months ago) Permalink

interesting piece on the BJP's current renaming drive. reminds me of efforts to purge english of latinate and greek words like percy grainger's 'blue eyed english'. quaint can turn to fascist p quick.

ogmor, Wednesday, 2 January 2019 10:11 (five months ago) Permalink

Ugh, yeah, they also renamed Ross, Neil, and Havelock islands after Subhash Chander Bose (independence leader who conflicted with Gandhi and teamed up with WW2-era Germany and Japan to form the Free India Army):

Locked in silent monologue, in silent scream (Sund4r), Wednesday, 2 January 2019 16:14 (five months ago) Permalink

This story is really fascinating to me:

A recent Supreme Court ruling overturned a proscription on pre-menopausal women entering the Sabarimala Ayyappa temple in Kerala. The priests and Hindu traditionalists have been (physically) fighting against the change, with BJP support, and have blocked many women from entering, with feminists and the Communists (who rule Kerala at the state level) fighting on the other side, including the formation of a 620 km human chain. Two women have entered and prayed now, which has been followed by protests and 'purification' of the temple by priests.

Locked in silent monologue, in silent scream (Sund4r), Wednesday, 2 January 2019 16:19 (five months ago) Permalink

Some quality Indian English in some of the quotes btw:

“Have the Communists desecrated Sabarimala shrine by facilitating entry of women of restricted age group into the temple? Devastating, if true.”

Locked in silent monologue, in silent scream (Sund4r), Wednesday, 2 January 2019 16:21 (five months ago) Permalink

Nationwide strike; five states basically shut down. Is this getting any Western coverage outside extreme left rags?

Locked in silent monologue, in silent scream (Sund4r), Wednesday, 9 January 2019 14:56 (five months ago) Permalink

Not that I’ve seen - perhaps there is a perception that hartal/ bandh is so common in India it no longer qualifies as news.

ShariVari, Wednesday, 9 January 2019 15:11 (five months ago) Permalink

They still cover French protests but yeah. This does seem big; idk how it will play out. Violence is worrying but unsurprising.

Locked in silent monologue, in silent scream (Sund4r), Wednesday, 9 January 2019 15:34 (five months ago) Permalink

three months pass...

We will ensure implementation of NRC in the entire country. We will remove every single infiltrator from the country, except Buddha, Hindus and Sikhs: Shri @AmitShah #NaMoForNewIndia

— BJP (@BJP4India) April 11, 2019

Rolling further towards open religious fascism.

ShariVari, Thursday, 11 April 2019 19:32 (two months ago) Permalink

Are they really excluding anyone whose name does not appear on the Mar 1971 electoral rolls and is not a descendant of someone who does (or an Indian citizen who moved to Assam)? Sounds nuts.

All along there is the sound of feedback (Sund4r), Friday, 12 April 2019 14:30 (two months ago) Permalink

Good news for Gautama at least.

What's a reliable source for Indian news? Not knowing the media landscape there, I tend to only read about it in the Guardian.

rob, Friday, 12 April 2019 14:34 (two months ago) Permalink

Ha, yeah, "except for Buddha" jumped out for me too.

All along there is the sound of feedback (Sund4r), Friday, 12 April 2019 14:42 (two months ago) Permalink

Awful news from Sri Lanka. Three hotel and three churches bombed, it looks like. Reporting at least 137 dead.

ShariVari, Sunday, 21 April 2019 07:09 (two months ago) Permalink

Horrible. Forgive my ignorance, but have there been significant tensions between religious and/or ethnic communities lately?

pomenitul, Sunday, 21 April 2019 08:05 (two months ago) Permalink

Not as far as I know, it seems comparatively out of the blue.

ShariVari, Sunday, 21 April 2019 08:34 (two months ago) Permalink

How awful.

My quartier has a large Sri Lankan population, mostly Tamils. Many go to mass with us, and people were lamenting this Easter morning.

L'assie (Euler), Sunday, 21 April 2019 08:49 (two months ago) Permalink

I read somewhere that the police were warned of an imminent church attack last week, but I'd imagine it wouldn't have been the first time. Lots of predictable Islamophobic shit coming from the usual suspects and I'm reading it might have been committed by Bodu Bala Sena - the Buddhist extremists.

calzino, Sunday, 21 April 2019 08:49 (two months ago) Permalink

Another explosion.

pomenitul, Sunday, 21 April 2019 09:00 (two months ago) Permalink

2 police officers confirmed dead in 7th blast.

calzino, Sunday, 21 April 2019 09:03 (two months ago) Permalink

8th blast. Fucking hell.

pomenitul, Sunday, 21 April 2019 09:19 (two months ago) Permalink


calzino, Sunday, 21 April 2019 09:21 (two months ago) Permalink

there is going to be a nationwide curfew that begins in 3 hrs and a shutdown of all social media and messaging services.

calzino, Sunday, 21 April 2019 09:38 (two months ago) Permalink

The seventh and eighth bombs seem to have been set off as the attackers were being chased down by the police. They were not high-profile targets like the others.

ShariVari, Sunday, 21 April 2019 09:58 (two months ago) Permalink

death toll up to 207 now.

calzino, Sunday, 21 April 2019 12:29 (two months ago) Permalink

So awful

All along there is the sound of feedback (Sund4r), Sunday, 21 April 2019 12:44 (two months ago) Permalink

Is there a reason why Bodu Bala Sena would want to kill tourists? Serious question.

Matt DC, Sunday, 21 April 2019 15:46 (two months ago) Permalink

it probably wasn't them. But lots of ppl seemed quite sure who was responsible literally 20 mins after the first few blasts occurred. The usual suspects though.

calzino, Sunday, 21 April 2019 17:02 (two months ago) Permalink

Jesus. All my Sri Lankan colleagues seem to be ok but someone from our US office visiting them was killed at the Cinnamon Hotel.

ShariVari, Monday, 22 April 2019 12:47 (two months ago) Permalink

wtf! I thought there might have been an erroneous extra zero, but everyone else is reporting the same.

calzino, Monday, 29 April 2019 07:57 (one month ago) Permalink

three weeks pass...

BJP set to win 300+ seats. All I'm hearing from Indians are lamentations: ppl decrying Rahul Gandhi; debate about whether the Congress party even has any future; lots of concern about possible electoral fraud; ppl pointing to the state of the media & coarsening of discourse. Amartya Sen has spoken of Modi's magic, his magical thinking and his way of tricking ppl with over-hyped policies like his healthcare bill and demonetization. Seems that the Indian right have been v successful in getting ppl to vote not on governance or the economy but on identity and security.

ogmor, Thursday, 23 May 2019 21:39 (one month ago) Permalink

300/543 seats for one party is wild when there are, what, 30 parties in the Lok Sabha? Even wilder when the economy is actually doing badly. I will be surprised if the party of Nehru and the Gandhis never recovers. I don't really know why they stuck with Rahul after 2014, though. Good for the South for resisting the right wing tide, I guess, but the overwhelming global rightward shift continues to be worrying.

All along there is the sound of feedback (Sund4r), Thursday, 23 May 2019 22:53 (one month ago) Permalink

866k people in Bhopal voted for Sadhvi Pragya, currently on bail for a string of charges related to the 2008 Malegaon bombings.

ShariVari, Friday, 24 May 2019 05:58 (one month ago) Permalink

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