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South Asia roundup August 7, 2009

Posted by sandygordon in : Gordon, Sandy, India, Nepal, Pakistan, South Asia - General , comments closed

Sandy Gordon


In India, the  sclerotic law enforcement system and creaking police service have again come under scrutiny.  An alleged ‘encounter’ killing of a former militant in Manipur has been captured in a series of highly incriminating photographs first published in Tehelka.   Widespread unrest in Manipur followed the allegations and the Manipur government has now announced a commission will inquire into the event, to be conducted by a judge from Assam.  This is but one of a whole series of alleged ‘encounter’ killings.  This one happens to be highly sensitive because of the separatist movement in Manipur and the remarkable footage recording the killing.  The Indian authorities have asserted the footage could have been electronically doctored.

An article in Nature chronicles India’s bid for a third scientific research station in Antarctica.  This will be the second active station, an earlier one having been covered by ice.  It is to be located in a part of Antarctica from which what is now the Indian subcontinent was originally detached.  The Indian government claims this geological connection provides a strong scientific rational for another station.  However, the location is also within a proposed Antarctic Specially Managed Area (ASMA), designed to restrict human activity on environmental grounds. The ASMA is being proposed by Australia and China among other countries, and India’s bid was initially opposed on environmental grounds. But one Indian former official asserted in the Nature article (see above for link) that this opposition had more to do with the desire of the opposing parties to keep natural resources to themselves rather than with protection of the environment. (more…)