Stifling dissent in Southasia

I earlier posted about resistance to the stifling of dissent in India, and why as a Pakistani it matters to me. The trend is visible in other parts of Southasia too, including of course Pakistan about which I’ve written a fair amount. Here’s an update from Bangladesh, where defamation, sedition cases and the attempts to silence the independent media are underway, as well as Chattisgarh, India.

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Smiles and sedition. Photo: Andrew Biraj, Reuters


“Mahfuz Anam, the editor of the leading English language newspaper The Daily Star is the subject of an orchestrated vilification campaign following comments that he made on a talk show relating to the publication in his paper eight years ago of uncorroborated corruption allegations against the current prime minister and others. As of now, governing party activists of the Awami League have filed 62 criminal defamation and 17 sedition cases – and both the Prime Minister and her son have heavily criticised him personally,” writes David Bergman in an email update sharing some articles dealing “this rather extraordinary situation”:

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Budhri, the wife of an undertrial villager, charged with being a Maoist, waits outside the Dantewada court. Photo: Chitrangada Choudhury

Meanwhile the Orissa-based journalist Chitrangada Choudury in a detailed recent report on the intensifying violence against women reminds us to also spare a thought for Bastar. “In Delhi, our rulers are telling us there can be only one kind of nationalism. In Bastar, through the intensifying violence against women and the intimidation of journalists, activists, teachers and lawyers, our rulers are ensuring there must be only one narrative: of a manly police state that is “work(ing) perfectly here.

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2 Responses

  1. Well written article, this is the kind of stuff which very few report and it gets brushed under the carpet so to speak. The courts are being used to settle personal vendettas, and most are more than happy to oblige, the media should be free and the public needs to speak up, once there is erosion of media freedom, they’ll have a free ticket to rule with menace, and intimidation. If the media is free and not harassed by the state, then it can report on the corruption, and many failed projects, which in turn would lead to the population next time not voting for them as their track record would be laid bare by the media, this is why they are coming down hard on journalists, it’s a disgrace.

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  2. I cannot say for other countries but at least in India a section of media – a major one at that – is dirty and partial. I won’t be shedding any tears if they get their just desserts (and I am NOT implying persecution here) though I will stand firm & protest against any genuine violation of human rights.

    Coming to Kanhaiya et al, well, they will do roaring business if they form a circus or join politics. They are yet to begin to understand the difference between fire-brand uncontrolled sloganeering and controlled/sustained revolution. They would do well to follow the footsteps of Ambedkar and Phule instead of idiotic lal salaams.

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