Ambiguous intent—investigating RAW’s activities in Nepal

What are the Indian Spy Agency–RAW’s hidden intentions?

In 1975, a referendum declared Sikkim as the 22nd state of India, and hence, the monarchy of the Chogyal dynasty collapsed. Around this time, Indian intelligence agency, RAW, namely Research and Analysis Wing, had their own agenda. One of their famous spy operatives, Rameshwar Nath Kao, planned to destabilize and annex Tarai, the southern region of Nepal, to India. Author RK Yadav writes in his book, Mission RAW: read more

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Signatories: “We condemn the massive violation of the rights of Shahidul Alam”

The arbitrary arrest by Bangladeshi Police of Shahidul Alam, an internationally recognised photojournalist, has outraged the world community and must be rectified immediately. This action is in serious breach of conventions of international human rights, including the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.

Alam has been detained by the police. The one and only reason he was arrested is that he gave an interview to Al Jazeera, in which he expressed views critical of the Bangladeshi regime’s brutal repression of public demonstrations in Dhaka, and had allegedly posted equally critical statements on Facebook. read more

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Bangladesh Government is at War with its Children

The situation in Bangladesh is very troubling right now. International media outlets such as the Washington Post has already published an overview of the troubles there, but the situation has since deteriorated further. With reports of an Internet slowdown, a move that hampers livestreaming and evidencing of the brutal attacks, and the government’s warning to the media, that has made many local outlets back away from covering the events, Dhaka city has now turned to a war zone. Journalists and photographers had already been attacked yesterday, and many journalists were attacked again on Sunday, August 5. A co-editor of Muktiforum and two reporters were harassed yesterday, while many others still fear to be attacked today. Students say that many of their fellow protesters are still missing. read more

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From Quota Reform to Kishor Bidroho for Road Safety: Social Movements for Justice and Rule of Law

Both political executives and employees in public service must be held accountable for each and every action. That’s the hallmark of democracy. There are formal institutions and stipulated guidelines to make the state actors accountable. For a country like Bangladesh, the effectiveness of formal institutions such as, parliament, judiciary, Office of Controller and Auditor General, Independent Anti-Corruption Commission and so forth entrusted with the vital role of disciplining the actors in the executive branch has waned. Accountability through periodic elections has lost its significance as non-participatory and rigged elections have reappeared on the political landscape. The majority of the civic forums have also been encapsulated by the executive state. What we find in Bangladesh is nothing more than executive despotism. In fact, all kinds of channels through which citizens can ventilate their disapproval of executive actions have been shut down. Under this kind of pathetic situation, spontaneous social movements concerning pressing demands as perceived by citizenry can play an effective role. The glaring examples are Phulbari and Kanshat movements. Of course, there is no guarantee that such social movements generate positive outcomes all the time. But at least, these can expose the ugly face of despotic governments. read more

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Erdoğan’s victory in the Turkish General Elections and it’s significance in the International Stage

The general elections in Turkey held on 24th June 2018 extended the Presidency of Recip Tayyip Erdoğan’s tenure as the President of the Turkish Republic. Erdoğan came into power as the Prime Minister in 2003 as they won the majority in the Turkish Parliament in March 2003. Since then Turkey has experienced various ups and downs in the international stage. Particularly, allegedly after the IMF bailout in 2002 of $20billion to a stagnant Turkish economy gave a boost which later carried on to give Turkey an economic ‘miracle’ which is often attributed to Erdoğan’s policymaking. After the founding of the Republic, the country has gone through a vast and quite extreme measures of instilling secularism within its society. Starting with banning religiously inspired political groups to restricting the Islamic call to prayer the Azaan. With the help of the rather secular Military and the Kemalists. However, after the rise of AKP (Party of President Erdoğan) the ancestral roots of the Anatolian Turkic people and its connections to the Islamic civilisation has been rekindled. Many of the supporters of Erdoğan believe he will revive the Islamic golden ages once dominated by the Ottoman Turks. read more

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The Democratic Project is Far from Over

“Indeed it has been said that democracy is the worst form of Government except for all those other forms that have been tried from time to time. ”
Winston S Churchill, 11 November 1947

A quick skim through dusty history or political science books will tell you of a time when democracy was the new kid of the playground. Democracy was conceived as a noble concept of governance. Yet, historically, its practice has been frequently flawed. Democracy’s embrace must be thus accompanied by safeguards against its susceptibility to abuse and distortion. read more

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Pakistan elections and the relations with its civil and military bodies

Today is the penultimate day for Pakistan’s democracy as it is holding the general elections to determine who will form the country’s next government. The 2013 election saw the first ever successful transfer of power from one democratically elected civilian government to another. However, not without scrutiny as the former cricketer turned politician Imran Khan’s party Pakistani Tareeki Insaaf (PTI) have accused the then elected government of Pakistan Muslim League/Nawaz (PMLN) of fixing votes during the election which hampered the serious candidacy of PTI. Like the previous election, Pakistan faces a controversial situation as the former elected prime minister Nawaz Sharif was removed due to the corruption charges which were revealed after the Panama paper leaks. Nawaz Sharif currently imprisoned due to corruption charges is ineligible to run in the elections, however, his brother Shahbaz Sharif is running for the office instead. On top of that Bilawal Bhutto Zardari the son of the assassinated former prime minister Benazir Bhutto is also running for the office with his party Pakistan People’s Party (PPP). read more

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Americans Lose in Trump’s War on Trade

Despite the consensus among the vast majority of economists against Trump’s tariffs, Trump insisted, “Trade wars are good and easy to win.” Well, it has not been a winner for the manufacturers across the nation in the U. S. Fed’s July issue of the Beige Book, a qualitative report by Federal Reserve of its twelve branches, which indicates mounting concerns among manufacturers about tariff increase. The purpose of the report is usually to understand the current economic trends through anecdotes from businesses and community organizations. This time, the 32-page report heavily featured Trump’s tariffs. Many businesses reported that Trump’s tariff prompted a shortage of raw materials, disruption in the supply chain, and an increase in prices. read more

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