AHRC TV: Pakistan court places Hindu girls in protection and other stories in JUST ASIA, Episode 253

This week Just Asia begins with Pakistan, where two teenage Hindu girls were placed in a government shelter on Tuesday, after allegations of their forced conversion and marriages to Muslim men. The Islamabad High Court issued the protection order for the two sisters, saying it acted on a petition from them. Sindh police have so far arrested several suspects in the case, including the cleric who performed the weddings. An investigation into the case has been launched.

Next, Burma’s Supreme Court agreed Tuesday to rule on an appeal filed by two Reuters journalists sentenced to seven years in prison for reporting on the country’s brutal crackdown on Rohingya Muslims. The convictions of reporters Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo for violating the country’s Official Secrets Act have been globally condemned. Lawyer Khin Maung Zaw said Tuesday that he submitted to the court 13 grounds on which he believed judicial procedure had been violated. No date was set for the next appearance before the judge.

In India, a mob beat up a Nigerian man for assaulting a traffic police officer. While a complaint has been filed against the Nigerian man named Prince, there has been no action taken against the mob. Vigilantism and mob violence has been steadily on the rise in India recently. Just Asia speaks to clinical psychologist Dr. Rajat Mitra for details. According to Dr. Mitra, empathy and prejudice plays a role in people’s response to violence.

In Indonesia, well known activist, human rights defender and university lecturer, Mr. Robertus Robet, was arrested for singing an old anti-military song at a protest in front of the Presidential Palace on February 28. Robert was protesting the government’s plan to put high ranking military officers into government positions, likening the plan to the Suharto era. Robet was arrested on March 7 and charged for defamation.

Next, Hong Kong’s human rights have “deteriorated severely” over the past year, Amnesty International said on Tuesday, in its year-end review. The human rights watchdog’s report cited a string of setbacks in freedoms, including the government’s prosecution of leading democracy campaigners, its expulsion of a British journalist, the ban on a pro-independence party, and the barring of candidates from local elections.

Lastly, Bangladesh police recovered a 13-year-old girl’s body, who was allegedly put to death by feeding her insecticide after gang rape in Shahzadpur. The girl was identified as Pali Khatun. According to the police, the autopsy report will reveal the cause of death.

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