Vinod Mubayi and Raza Mir


The current issue of the INSAF Bulletin highlights issues across the South Asian spectrum, from the elections in Sri Lanka to the constitutional crisis in Nepal, and from the investigation of Sabeen Mahmud’s murder in Pakistan to the targeting of secular bloggers in Afghanistan. In India, the Bihar elections and growing inequality highlight the wobbly support for Narendra Modi. We also include a detailed and appreciative obituary of Praful Bidwai, highlighting his role as an activist in the nuclear debates.


As usual, the concerns for violence and illiberalism are tempered with a sense of hope in activism. Be it the courageous activists of Pakistan who expose the role of quasi-state actors in the murder of activists, or the defiant bloggers of Bangladesh who labor under duress; be it Teesta Setalvad who remains uncowed by intimidation or the resounding rejection of Mahinda Rajapaksha’s attempted “Putinization” of Sri Lanka, we have reasons to believe that struggles for democratic rights, civil liberties and economic justice, while beleaguered, are certainly ongoing. Some major causes for concern this month were the failure of the NSA talks between India and Pakistan to occur, and the fact that Nepal’s attempt to rewrite its constitution and federalize its political structure have led to widespread opposition from the nation’s fragments. In the meantime, we take heart from the fact that almost 3 million Indian’s identify with no religion, surely some comfort in this age of inflexible religiosity.


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