COLUMNS

Evolution of China’s policy on the minorities

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By P.K.Balachandran
Colombo, April 9: Among issues on which China is unsparingly criticized in the Western world is the way it treats its minorities. No doubt, China has problems with its minorities, like other countries. And again, like other political systems, Chinese political systems have, over the centuries, tackled the question in a variety of ways with varying degrees of success. To put the issue in the contemporary context, Human Rights Watch (HRW), has charged that Beijing’s “Strike Hard Campaign against Violent Extremism” has entailed mass arbitrary ...Continued

Was Portuguese proselytization in Ceylon ruthless as portrayed?

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By P.K.Balachandran
James Emerson Tennent was Colonial Secretary in Ceylon from 1846 to 1850 and Acting Governor in April-May 1847. Tennent was not just an administrator, a Colonial master lording over obsequious natives. His keen eye and ear caught the nuances of the communities he was administering. His scholarship got him the Presidency of the Ceylon branch of the Royal Asiatic Society. In “Christianity in Ceylon” published in 1850, Tennent traces its encounters with, and the challenges it faced from, entrenched faiths like  Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam and ...Continued

Indo-Lankan fishing conundrum Geographic, historical and political factors prevent solution

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The Indian authorities have invariably succeeded in securing the release of arrested fishermen on appeals from Tamil Nadu fishermen and State leaders. But this time round, a sense of urgency was palpable. A possible reason is that, Tamil Nadu is in the final leg of campaigns for the April 6 State Assembly elections. The ruling All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK), in alliance with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), is fighting to retain power against a formidable challenge mounted by ...Continued

Pope Francis writes to WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange on Palm...

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In a March 28 tweet, Assange’s partner Stella Moris said that “after a hard night, Julian woke up this morning to a kind, personal message from Pope Francis @pontifex delivered to his cell door by the prison priest.” “Our family wishes to express our gratitude to the many Catholics and other Christians campaigning for his freedom,” Moris said. The contents of the letter were not disclosed; however, it has been rumored for years that Assange is suffering from psychological trauma related to prolonged stress and ...Continued

Xi says China ready to support Sri Lanka’s post-pandemic recovery...

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In a telephone conversation with Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, Xi suggested that the two countries steadily push forward major projects like the Colombo Port City and the Hambantota Port, and promote high-quality collaboration in jointly building the Belt and Road. Xi pointed out that since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, China and Sri Lanka have pulled together and helped each other, writing a new chapter of China-Sri Lanka friendship. China attaches great importance to the development of bilateral ties, and stands ready to ...Continued

Rising communalism across borders could derail India-Bangladesh relations

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New Delhi has taken in its stride, Dhaka’s growing economic relations with Beijing through the latter’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). On her part, Sheikh Hasina has curbed the activities of anti-India and anti-Hindu Islamic radicals and terrorists and has completely stopped sheltering Assamese separatists. India’s failure to deliver on the Teesta river waters sharing issue continues to irk Dhaka, but it appears to have put it on the backburner. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s two–day visit to Bangladesh, which concluded on Saturday, was a ...Continued

Violation of UN resolutions is not uncommon

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By P.K.Balachandran
She made this observation based on a 15-year review of compliance with UN resolutions done by the University of San Francisco Professor Stephen Zunes. Zunes had concluded that compliance depended on the influence of each State and its backers. The more powerful the backer, the less the chance of compliance, he said. Those countries which did comply were made to comply by a powerful country or a set of powerful countries through sheer coercion, economic or military or both. For a start, UN resolutions are ...Continued

India Signaled it unwillingness to upset its neighbour

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Under the caption “Tactical abstention: On the U.N. Human Rights Council resolution on Sri Lanka” The Hindu editorial further states that India was keen not to lose diplomatic space to persuade Sri Lanka on devolution for Tamils. The full text is as follows By abstaining from the vote on the U.N. Human Rights Council resolution on Sri Lanka, India has signaled its unwillingness to upset its neighbour. At the same time, it does not want to be seen as ignoring Sri Lanka’s reluctance to meet ...Continued

Genocide triggered Bangladesh’s independence A political conflict between Zulfiqar Ali...

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By P K Balachandran
The horrific genocide which forced Sheikh Mujib to declare independence has been described by Inam Ahmed and Shakhawat Litonin their book entitled: Genocide They Wrote: A rebuttal of Pakistan’s denial of its 1971 crimes in Bangladesh (Daily Star Books, 2016). Around midnight on March 25, the Pakistani army started massacring Bengalis, including government officials, police and army personnel, university students and teachers, and ordinary men, women and children, using tanks, artillery, machine guns, small arms, and rifle bayonets. Flame throwers were used to burn houses. ...Continued

ORAL STATEMENT BY THE SECRETARIAT IN CONNECTION WITH DRAFT

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This statement is made in accordance with rule 153 of the Rules of procedure of the General Assembly. Under the terms of operative paragraphs 6 and 16 of draft resolution A/HRC/46/L.1/Rev.1, the Human Rights Council would: (a) Recognize the importance of preserving and analyzing evidence relating to violations and abuses of human rights and related crimes in Sri Lanka with a view to advancing accountability, and decide to strengthen in this regard the capacity of the Office of the High Commissioner to collect, consolidate, analyse ...Continued

Factors behind India’s abstention at UNHRC on Lanka resolution

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By P.K.Balachandran
The April 6 Tamil Nadu State Assembly elections could have been the immediate reason Will it further strain Indo-Lanka relations The alleged human rights violations in Sri Lanka against the Tamil minority is a key issue electoral issue in Tamil Nadu, a fact which the BJP cannot ignore. And the subject matter of the UNHRC resolution is the alleged violation of the human rights of the Tamils of Sri Lanka. If India had voted against the resolution moved by the West-led Core Group on Sri ...Continued

US Defence Secretary Meets Modi

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The United States Secretary of Defense, General (Retd.) Lloyd J. Austin, met Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the start of a three-day visit to India, the first such outreach by the new U.S. administration less than two months after President Biden assumed office. “India and the U.S. are committed to our strategic partnership that is a force for global good,” Mr. Modi said in a tweet after the meeting on Friday evening. “The Prime Minister welcomed the warm and close relationship between the two countries, ...Continued

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