South Asia
North East India

India: peace accord with Naga rebels in Manipur

The government of India announced that it has signed a peace agreement with the Zeliangrong United Front (ZUF), an insurgent group in the northeastern state of Manipur. The ZUF was established in 2011 to advance the interests of the Zeliangrong tribe, a sub-group within the Naga ethnicity. Its main goal was to establish a separate administrative unit consisting of all the areas inhabited by the tribe. The ZUF carried out numerous attacks against security forces to pressure the government to accept its demands. Insurgency continues to plague the volatile northeastern region of India, where various separatist and left-wing groups raise demands for autonomy or independence. (Map via TFI Post)

South Asia
Sindh

Pakistan floods highlight climate injustice

As world leaders meet at the COP27 in Egypt to try to reinvigorate stalled global climate talks, survivors of Pakistan’s heaviest flooding in living memory are facing a health crisis, with stagnating floodwaters fuelling a rise in malaria, dengue, and diarrhoea. The unprecedented scale of the disaster—up to $40 billion in economic damage, 1,700 killed since mid-June, eight million displaced, and almost half the country’s farmland submerged—has given impetus to calls for COP27 to take up the question of climate reparations. (Photo: Verena Hölzl/TNH)

South Asia
Teesta Setalvad

India: ‘interim bail’ for detained Gujarat truth activist

The Supreme Court of India granted “interim bail” to detained human rights activist Teesta Setalvad, allowing her release while the justices consider the granting of formal bail. Setalvad was arrested in June, accused of fabricating documents related to the 2002 anti-Muslim Gujarat riots, and faces charges including forgery and criminal conspiracy. However, human rights groups have questioned the charges against her. Amnesty International India called Setalvad’s arrest a “direct reprisal against those who dare to question” Indian authorities’ human rights practices. (Photo via Boomlive)

South Asia
naxals

Podcast: India’s forgotten wars

In Episode 137 of the CounterVortex podcast, Bill Weinberg explores two of the many under-reported internal conflicts in India, which are rooted in unresolved issues left over from the colonial era in spite of 75 years of Indian independence. In the east-central interior, the Naxalite insurgency has been met with harsh repression from the security forces—especially against the Adivasis, or indigenous peoples who make up the movement’s support base. In the remote Northeast, the long struggle of the Naga people is still met with massacres at the hands of the military today. For three generations the Naga have been fighting for their independence, keeping alive their indigenous culture, and protesting the genocide of their people—to the silence of the international community. Listen on SoundCloud or via Patreon. (Photo via MIM)

South Asia
Adhivasi

India: high court rejects probe of Adivasi killings

The Supreme Court of India dismissed a petition seeking an independent investigation into extra-judicial killings of Adivasis, or tribal people, in villages in Chhattisgarh state. The petition charges that state security forces, including the Chhattisgarh Police and affiliated paramilitary groups, were responsible for the deaths of villagers during operations against the Naxalite guerillas that took place in the area in 2009. The petition was filed by Gandhian social activist Himanshu Kumar and 12 relatives of the slain villagers. The Indian government opposed the petition, and sought perjury charges against the petitioners for supposedly false accusations against the security forces. (Photo: IMPRI)

South Asia
colombo

Fascist pseudo-anti-fascism in Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka’s newly appointed acting president Ranil Wickremesinghe unleashed police and army troops against remnant protesters at an encampment site in the capital, Colombo. More than 50 were injured in the raid and several arrested. Military personnel also reportedly detained a group of protesters for several hours and severely beat them before they were released. Just hours earlier, protest leaders had agreed to disband the encampment the following day, in response to a court order. The site had been occupied by protesters since March, when an uprising began in response to near-total economic collapse in the country. Wickremesinghe, implicated in past atrocities during a counterinsurgency campaign against leftist rebels, has repeatedly derided the protesters as “fascists.” (Photo via Twitter)

South Asia
gujarat

India: high court dismisses ‘conspiracy’ in Gujarat pogrom

The Supreme Court of India dismissed an appeal alleging a “larger conspiracy” by then-chief minister of Gujarat state (now prime minister) Narendra Modi and 62 other senior state officials in connection with anti-Muslim riots in 2002. The case was brought by Zakia Jafri, widow of Ehsan Jafri, a Congress Party MP who was killed in the riots. One day after the ruling, the Gujarat Anti-Terrorism Squad arrested human rights activist Teesta Setalvad, who was a co-litigant in the case, on allegations of fabricating evidence, forgery and criminal conspiracy. Mary Lawlor, UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders, expressed “deep concern” over Setalvad’s detention, and called for her release. (Map: Google)

South Asia
Kashmir

Protests in Baltistan amid Pak political crisis

Pakistan has seen mass mobilizations both in protest and celebration since parliament voted to remove Imran Khan as prime minister. Opposition to Khan has especially been mounting in the remote and contested Himalayan region of Baltistan, with residents demanding the return of properties they say have been usurped by local officials. Protesters accuse the Khan administration of illegal and forceful acquisition of their properties on behalf of “land mafias” dominated by regional oligarchs. (Map via Wikipedia)

Planet Watch
motin

Sri Lanka to Lima: ripples from Ukraine storm

Sri Lanka’s President Gotabaya Rajapaksa declared a nationwide state of emergency as angry protests over fuel shortages and power cuts erupted in the capital Colombo. When police repression failed to quell the protests, Rajapaksa sought to appease demands for his resignation with a purge of his cabinet. Peru’s President Pedro Castillo meanwhile imposed a curfew in Lima and its port of Callao in response to an eruption of protests over dramatic fuel price hikes. As street clashes broke out in the cities, farmers outraged at a jump in fertilizer costs blocked highways at several points around the country—including Ica, where a toll-booth was set on fire. The world has seen an oil price surge to $100 a barrel in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. (Photo: Twitter via La Tercera)

South Asia
hijab

India: hijab at issue in Karnataka unrest

Protests for and against the right of young women to wear the hijab in classrooms have swept across the Indian state of Karnataka, with incidents of stone-pelting and “lathicharge” (police baton-charge). The dispute began when hijab-wearing Muslim students were denied entry at colleges, or segregated from the main student body. Muslim students challenged this before the Karnataka High Court, which denied injunctive relief while the matter is pending. The Chief Minister of Karnataka, Basavaraj S. Bommai of the Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP), meanwhile ordered the closure of all schools and colleges. The National Federation of Indian Women (NFIW) condemned the exclusion of the Muslim students, saying: “It is deplorable that instead of upholding constitutional values and fundamental rights, the administration of these institutions have become willing participants in an agenda set by Brahminical forces.” (Image: Counterview)

South Asia
naga

Podcast: solidarity with Nagaland

In Episode 109 of the CounterVortex podcast, Bill Weinberg explores the under-reported conflict in India’s northeastern state of Nagaland, which has seen a multi-generational pro-independence insurgency. Popular protest is rising there since an army massacre of coal-miners in December. The armed conflict began in 1956, when the Naga National Council declared independence from India in the face of Delhi’s intransigence on recognizing local autonomy, and adopted a constitution emphasizing village self-rule. The traditional Naga territory is divided by the border with Burma, which has complicated their self-determination struggle. With Burma now going over the edge into civil war, there are growing fears that India’s conflicted Northeast could be further enflamed. Listen on SoundCloud or via Patreon. (Photo: Naga Student Union Delhi via My Nagaland)

South Asia
Nagas

Nagaland: cross-country march against ‘special powers’

Hundreds in India’s conflicted eastern state of Nagaland held a two-day cross-country march to protest the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA), which gives the military broad power to use deadly force in areas where it is declared to be in effect. The march swelled to a thousand by the time it reached state capital Kohima. The action was called in response to last month’s massacre of 14 residents in the village of Oting, where army troops fired on what proved to be truck filled with mine workers—not guerillas, as had apparently been suspected. The march was organized by the Naga Mothers’ Association, whose spokesperson Rosemary DzĂĽvichĂĽ accused the Indian government of viewing Nagas as “the other.” She lamented: “We still have this colonial attitude being shown to us.” (Photo: Nagaland Express)