ASIA: Weekly Roundup, Episode 85

This week’s Roundup reports on the encouraging re-opening of a three-year-old crime investigation relating to the death of Sri Lankan rugby player Wasim Thajudeen. While it was initially determined to be an accidental death, allegations of it being a murder committed by former President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s son have long circulated. The body has now been exhumed to be forensically re-examined. Rajapaksa, who fears the re-opened investigation is being done to impact his bid for Prime Ministership in Monday’s Parliamentary election, is crying foul. AHRC TV speaks with Basil Fernando about the implications.

Next, the Roundup reports on the on-going closure of educational institutions by the government in India’s North Eastern state of Manipur. Ostensibly, the closures were enforced in early July to protect students after police killed one student protester. However, it is, in many ways, standard operating procedure for the government. One many occasions in the past, when misgovernance and impunity have lead to people’s protest, the government has responded by kicking the students out of school and filling the institutions with uniformed personnel.

In the lead-up to a new constitution in Nepal, different communities and groups have taken to the streets to push for their rights being better enshrined. The police have failed to adopt modern crowd control and have instead resorted to charging peaceful protestors with batons, hitting them on their heads, and hurling bricks at them. AHRC TV interviews some protesters.

Also, in this programme, the fifth secular blogger has been murdered in Bangladesh. Niladri Chattapaddhaya was hacked to death in a Dhaka residence on August 7. None of the five murders since early 2013 have been credibly investigated or solved.

Finally, AHRC TV reports on shocking revelations of mass child abuse in Pakistan. At least 280 children have been sexually abused and filmed by a gang of 15 men for a decade in a village in Punjab Province. Families of the victims were continually blackmailed by the gang, which threatened to release footage of the abuse. Local police have tried to downplay the gravity of the abuse. In fact, the case reflects the tip of the iceberg, in terms of the enormity of the problem of child abuse that is crippling Pakistan and its future generations.

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