SECULARISM, DEMOCRACY, HUMAN RIGHTS AND SOCIAL JUSTICE

INSAF Bulletin 172 August 2016
Editors: Daya Varma (Montreal) and Vinod Mubayi (New York)

EDITORIAL: VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN IN PAKISTAN, INDIA, BANGLADESH: SOUTH ASIA’S SHAMEFUL LEGACY

Vinod Mubayi and Raza Mir

 

On July 15th, Qandeel Baloch, a popular social media celebrity in Pakistan was brutally murdered by her own brother in a horrific case of honor killing. According to the newspaper Dawn, in an unprecedented move by the state, the FIR registered against the killers under the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC) made the offence unpardonable. Baloch, whose real name was Fauzia Azeem, was killed by her brother last week because she brought “dishonor” to the family. Physicist and rights activist (and member of the Insaf Bulletin collective) Dr Pervez Hoodbhoy who found Baloch a fearless young woman determined to “break taboos that shackle women in Pakistan’s patriarchal society”, believed she paid the ultimate price for her convictions — being strangled to death. Read more…

VALLEY VOICES IN KOLKATA – “WE AS KASHMIRIS REQUEST YOU”

Dolores Chew

 

On the night of 23 February 1991, soldiers of the 4 Rajputana Rifles of the Indian Army cordoned off the two villages Kunan and Poshpora in north Kashmir’s Kupwara district during a ‘crackdown’.  They took the men away and held them in barns and then gang-raped the women. Read more…

AZADI: WHAT EXACTLY DOES AZADI MEAN TO KASHMIRIS? WHY CAN’T IT BE DISCUSSED? SINCE WHEN HAVE MAPS BEEN SACROSANCT?

Arundhati Roy

 

The people of Kashmir have made it clear once again, as they have done year upon year, decade upon decade, grave upon grave, that what they want is azadi. (The “people”, by the way, does not mean those who win elections conducted in the rifle sights of the army. It does not mean leaders who have to hide in their homes and not venture out in times like these.) Read more…

THE DISHONOURABLE KILLING OF QANDEEL BALOCH

Moni Mohsin

 

Qandeel Baloch, who was murdered last week by her brother, was Pakistan’s first genuine social media star. Despite her fame – she had over 1 million followers on Facebook – 26-year-old Baloch was an unlikely star. Still less did she have the makings of the political and social icon that she has rapidly become in the four days since her death. Read more…

CALIFORNIA PASSES TEXTBOOK STANDARDS INCLUDING ‘COMFORT WOMEN,’ SIKHS

Frances Kai-Hwa Wang

 

California’s State Board of Education approved a new History-Social Science Framework for California Public Schools Thursday, adding changes on a wide variety of topics, including “comfort women” in World War II, the Bataan Death March and the Battle of Manila, discrimination faced by Sikh Americans, and the roles of LGBTQ community in U.S. and California history, according to the California Department of Education. Read more…

POLICE, POWER, PATRIARCHY

Rahul Srivastav , Manini Srivastav

 

In two separate cases in different districts of Uttar Pradesh, sub-inspector (SI) rank officers were suspended after videos of their abusive behaviour with female complainants went viral on social media. One was a station officer (SO) and the other in- charge of an outpost. In one case, the officer on reaching the spot, after getting a call from Dial100, hurled abuses at the female complainant: “Kya 100 no tere baap ka hai?(Does 100 number belong to your father?”. Read more…

INDIA OUTRAGE AFTER GANG RAPE VICTIM ASSAULTED AGAIN ‘BY SAME MEN’

Geeta Pandey

 

There has been outrage in India after a student was allegedly gang-raped by five men who had also raped her three years ago. Read more…

‘A MODEST PROPOSAL’ IS A BETTER IDEA FOR KASHMIR

Sadanand Menon

 

Almost 300 years ago, Jonathan Swift made ‘a modest proposal’ to the British nation. Erroneously remembered today as a writer of tales for children, Swift was in fact a fierce political satirist and fabulist, with a touch of misanthropy. Himself an Irishman, he proposed that allowing thousands of Irish children to die of malnutrition and starvation due to prolonged conditions of famine induced by the feudal system and British taxation, made for silly economics and a waste of resources. Read more…

COUP D’ÉTAT ATTEMPT: TURKEY’S REICHSTAG FIRE?

Aye Kadiolu

 

On the evening of July 15, 2016, a friend called around 10:30pm and said that both bridges connecting the Asian and European sides of Istanbul were closed by military barricades. Moreover, military jets were flying over Ankara skies. As someone living on the European side of Istanbul and commuting to the Asian side to my university on a daily basis and spending many hours in traffic in order to do that, I immediately knew that the closure of both bridges was a sign of something very extraordinary taking place. Read more…

DHAKA TERROR ATTACK: BANGLADESH PAYS THE PRICE FOR ITS GOVERNMENT’S POLICY OF APPEASING ISLAMISTS

Ikhtisad Ahmed

 

At 8.45 pm on July 1, the last Friday before Eid ul Fitr, an Islamist attack broke out in Gulshan, the diplomatic, expatriate and upper-class heartland of Dhaka. It developed into a hostage situation, with the assailants exchanging gunfire with the police. Two of the first responders were fatally wounded, and many others injured and hospitalised. Rumours abound on social media as shocked and distressed citizens gave in to voyeurism, but ten hours into the attack, neither the Bangladesh prime minister nor her ministers had addressed the nation. Their deafening silence echoed the tepid response of the Awami League government to rising terrorism. Read more…

1,528 FAKE ENCOUNTERS IN MANIPUR ALONE: WHY THE SUPREME COURT JUDGEMENT ON AFSPA MATTERS

Saikat Datta

 

On the day the 19th battalion of the Army’s Rashtriya Rifles gunned down Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Muzaffar Wani in an encounter in South Kashmir, which led to massive protests in which at least 15 people have been killed, came an interim judgment of the Supreme Court that can have a profound impact on human rights in India’s numerous conflict zones. Read more…

ATROCITIES, DISCRIMINATION LED TO DALIT WAVE OF ANGER IN GUJARAT: MARTIN MACWAN

Vidya Venkat

 

“Gujarat has a mere 2.33 per cent of India’s Dalit population, but when it comes to atrocities, it ranks in the top half of the country”. Read more…

IN DEDICATION TO AMJAD SABRI & ALL QAWWALS

Jooneed J Khan

 

Qawwalis can be deadly. Case in point: the assassination of Pakistani Qawwal Amjad Sabri, brought down June 22 in a hail of bullets fired by two gunmen on a motor-bike as he drove with a friend in the ultra-violent city of Karachi. Read more…

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